An environmental group reports that a diesel-based fuel has been part of the chemical stew injected underground in Arkansas as part of the fracking process to search for natural gas. Federal rules were clarified in February and Southwestern Energy said it then stopped using kerosene as an additive.
The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission says there is nothing to worry about since procedures have changed. And there’s no need to worry either about the time that they WERE injecting kerosene underground, it says. There’s no way the chemical could have reached underground fresh water, an Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission official says. (In case you’re wondering: This is not the same official who’s been assuring us there’s no way that pig shit can reach migrate from a farm to fresh water in the Buffalo River watershed.)
For more detail:
Here is the report from the Environmental Integrity Project that inspired the nothing-to-see-here Arkansas response. It says diesel has been used in fracking in 351 wells in 12 states. It says it relied on the companies’ self-reported data. it says companies have changed reports to eliminate references to past use of diesel. It contends the companies were required under the Safe Drinking Water Act to get permits for the chemicals but did not.
The project also replied to the industry response — repeated by the Arkansas regulator. It said it was untrue to say kerosene had not been considered a diesel fuel until 2014. It said it was also untrue to say there’d never been a case of water contaminated by fracking. It cited cases in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Ohio.
But, again: Arkansas’s oil and gas regulator says there’s nothing to worry about. If you don’t believe him, ask Jason Rapert.