MAP – Tompkins

The Marcellus Accountability Project
for Tompkins County

Basic Gas Drilling Information:

In-Depth Information on Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing
Fact Sheets On Key Shale-Drilling Topics
Chemicals in Fracking Fluid
Water Testing Recommendations for Landowners Near Gas Drilling
Well Spacing
Compulsory Integration
Regulatory Exemptions for Gas and Oil Industry

In-Depth Information on Gas Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing:

Full Draft SGEIS (809 pages, pdf)

Earthworks' Oil and Gas Accountability Project Hydraulic Fracturing Information
Most detailed, readable, and comprehensive information available on the process and negative impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Well-organized; specific information is easily found.

Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project Report on US Oil and Gas Development
Comprehensive description of oil and gas extraction methods and their problems, including suggestions for best practices, landowners' rights, and better regulations. Very readable, and explains many processes and terms.

Earthworks' Oil and Gas Accountability Project Report on Drilling in the Marcellus Shale
Readable report discusses gas-drilling methods and concerns that pertain to the Marcellus Shale.

Glossary of Gas Leasing and Drilling Terms
From the Chenango County Farm Bureau website.

Catskill Mountainkeeper's Gas Drilling Information
Well-organized, succinct information on gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy
Most comprehensive annotated list of links to excellent gas drilling information. Gas Drilling info from Chenango Delaware Otsego Gas (CDOG)
Extremely well-organized, detailed, and easy-to-navigate info on gas drilling.

West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization Drilling Slide Show
Excellent slide show with 29 diagrams showing details of exactly how a well is drilled and cased, what can go wrong, and what leaseholders and other concerned citizens should watch out for.

Industry Sources on the Difficulty in Predicting the Behavior of Hydraulic Fractures
Several quotes from industry sources (referenced) describing how it is difficult to predict the fracture patterns resulting from hydraulic fracturing.

Short Video from the American Petroleum Institute showing the Drilling and Hydrofracturing Process
The American Petroleum Institute (API) is a national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. This short, animated video shows the details of what happens underground as a well is drilled and hydrofracked. It may take a while to load the video.


Fact Sheets On Key Shale-Drilling Topics

How Does High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Differ from Traditional Hydraulic Fracturing? (4/10)
A summary of the important differences between traditional hydraulic fracturing and high-volume hydraulic fracturing (the technique used to extract gas from the Marcellus Shale) and the implications for public health and the environment.

New York's Marcellus Gas Does Not Add Much to US Energy Supply (5/10)
An analysis of the contribution of Marcellus Shale natural gas to the energy supply and energy security of the U.S.  Using reasonable estimates for the amount of gas in the Marcellus shale and the rate of extracting the gas, New York's share of the gas will contribute at most 0.6% annually to the energy supply of the US.

Shale Gas Extraction and Drinking Water Contamination (4/10)
A discussion of the risks to groundwater.  The endnotes list many cases in which groundwater has been contaminated.

Shale Gas Extraction and Health (4/10)
A summary of the human health impacts from natural gas extraction and how much is not known.  Health risks result from the contamination of drinking water, air, and soil by the toxic chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process (the identity of the chemicals is often protected by trade-secret status), from elevated ozone levels in the air (caused by engine exhaust), and from leaks of methane and other toxic compounds (such as benzene) into the air.

Economic and Social Costs of Gas Drilling
A discussion of the unequal distribution of costs and benefits of shale gas drilling.  Summarizes economic and societal costs to the Upstate New York community.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions:  How Green Is Natural Gas? (5/10)
Natural gas production generates carbon dioxide due to all the energy used to extract and transport the gas.  In addition, methane leaks during extraction and transport add significantly to the global warming effect of natural gas use.  No full life-cycle analysis has been done for natural gas produced by high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

"Gas Drilling in the Finger Lakes Region:  How Will it Affect Us?" (5/10)
A 9-page, thoroughly referenced article on many aspects of gas drilling.

Chemicals in Fracking Fluid:

TEDX: The Endocrine Disruption Exchange
Most detailed, expert info on the web discussing the chemicals used in gas drilling; spreadsheets of chemicals and their health and environmental effects, in-depth analysis of fracking chemicals. Dr. Theo Colborn heads this highly-respected website and nonprofit group.

Environmental Working Group's June 2008 Article "Colorado's Chemical Injection"
Joint report with TEDX on the chemicals found in fracking fluid; 65 of the chemicals are listed as hazardous under at least 6 federal laws, including Superfund, but they are exempt from all of these laws.

Chemicals Used in Fracking are Not Revealed, Despite Gas Industry Claims (6/22/10)
"Chemicals Used in ‘Fracking' Often a Mystery at Spill Cleanup Time." Laura Legere. The Times-Tribune (Scranton, PA). June 22, 2010.
The article, part of an excellent series, discusses how, despite continual claims by industry (many quotes are presented) that all the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are revealed, in reality (1) many chemical constituents are listed as proprietary and not revealed, and (2) lab tests of field samples reveal many chemicals being used that are not listed at all, even when industry says chemicals are being disclosed. When spills and accidents occur, environmental regulators do not know what chemicals to test for, and thus cannot determine the extent of contamination and health risks. Specific incidents are detailed.


Water Testing Recommendations for Landowners Near Gas Drilling:

Community Science Institute's Recommendations on Water Testing
Detailed pamphlet giving advice to landowners with wells or surface water on which chemicals to test for, how to test, and when to test, to insure that you have baseline data that will stand up in court in case your water is contaminated by gas drilling. Self-administered tests are not valid in court.

Benchmark Analytics: Pennsylvania-based Water Testing Lab; Certified to Test in New York
Benchmark will take samples in NY ($40 fee), and does all tests in-house. The complete NY list comes to $715.00 list; there is also a discounted price of $581.00.
Benchmark Anlytics Suggested List of Chemicals to Test for in New York


Well Spacing:'s Info on Well Spacing and Infill Wells

NYS DEC's Current Regulations on Well Spacing

Earthworks' Information on Infill Wells
See pp. 18-19 for info on the many areas that have downsized their well-spacing regulations over time, to allow gas drilling at greater densities.

Well Spacing Info in NYS DEC's Final Scope for the SGEIS on Drilling in the Marcellus Shale
See Section 2.1.6.


Compulsory Integration:

DEC Information on Landowner "Choices" in Compulsory Integration's Good Description of Compulsory Integration (Eminent Domain)


Regulatory Exemptions for Gas and Oil Industry:

Environmental Working Group's Discussion of Oil and Gas Industry Federal Exemptions
Readable description of oil and gas industry exemptions from seven major federal environmental laws, what each law does, and how the exemption was enacted.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Spreadsheet on Federal Exemptions (2009)
A detailed spreadsheet that summarizes the oil and gas industry's exemption for each major federal environmental law and then lists specifically which sections of each law they are exempted from. Laws covered: Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, CERCLA (Superfund), Clean Air Act, and National Environmental Policy Act.

EPA's June 2004 Study of the Safety of Hydraulic Fracturing: Executive Summary
This widely cited and criticized study looked at the possibility of contaminating drinking water by hydraulic fracturing in coalbed methane wells, and concluded that hydrofracking posed little or no threat and did not require further study.

EPA Whistleblower's Letter to EPA Regarding June 2004 Study of Hydrofracking
This detailed letter explains why the EPA's study was scientifically unsound and involved improper conduct.

85% of Fracking Fluid May Remain Underground in Marcellus Shale Wells: ProPublica (12/27/09)
This thoroughly researched article from Abrahm Lustgarten discusses new information that as much as 85 percent of the fluids used during hydraulic fracturing is being left underground after wells are drilled in the Marcellus Shale. The gas industry has long argued that because most of the toxic chemicals injected underground are removed, and are not permanently discarded inside the earth, the Safe Drinking Water Act should not apply to their actions. This article discusses how this new information may affect hydraulic fracturing’s exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

EPA Pub. Explaining Gas and Oil Exemptions from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
Unintentionally comical and disturbing EPA publication describing oil and gas exploration exemptions; focuses on Subtitle C of RCRA but also has information on other federal environmental laws. See pp. 10 and 11 for a list of RCRA exempt and non-exempt wastes and p. 12 for a humorous flowchart for deciding what is and is not exempt. P. 19 corrects the misunderstanding (held by the gas industry?) that all exempt wastes are harmless to human health and the environment. P. 22 contains the rule-of-thumb that anything that goes down the wellbore is exempt when it comes back up (whereas the unused portion that didn't go down the hole would not be exempt). Pp. 27-31 give a brief overview of other federal laws relating to hazardous waste and where to get more information on them, but does not mention from which parts oil and gas exploration wastes are exempt. Publication for use by the Oil and Gas Industry.


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