The blatant lies of the frackers and their friends

They ask us to trust them and their assurances that we have nothing to worry about, but then tell the most obvious and blatant of lies in public places.Nothing illustrates this better than what they try to tell us about the content of frack fluids.Take our old friend Nick ‘Greedy’ Grealy. He was at the Co-op/Caroline Lucas sponsored event for MPs that Lousie Evans and I attended yesterday. Bold as brass, in front of a very clued up audience, he said of Cuadrilla: “They only use one chemical”. As if I would let that ridiculous porky go!!I quickly jumped on him to point out that Cuadrilla themselves tell somewhat different, conflicting lies. I had the following web pages to hand: offers the lie that they use just three chemicals, namely: polyacrylamide (frequently contaminnated with or degrades into the nerve toxin acrylamide), biocide (poison) and hydrochloric acid (corrosive to human tissue). This is confirmed verbally by CEO Mark Miller in the video. However, some simple maths – that simple that an intelligent man like Mark Miller wouldn’t make such a crass mistake surely – reveals that all the declared ingredients only add up to 99.955% Careless or what?

So here we have Mark Miller confirming Nick Grealy is a pathetic liar, but how do we know Mark Miller is a liar, and not a careless mathematician? Because his company supplies us with this:
Mark no doubt had a bout of amnesia (a symptom of exposure to some chemicals) when he forgot to mention the HYDROCARBON OIL listed , or the chemical tracer that is stated as a SODIUM SALT.

So is this data sheet, the complete story? NO it is not. How do we know this?
The data sheet does not pretend to be complete – it calls itself the composition of components of the frack fluid for a start.
But it would certainly have been nice to know exactly which poisons they have selected as their biocide of choice, wouldn’t it? They are not listed.
And there is no mention of the hydrochloric acid Miller mentioned either.

These Cuadrilla sources also serve to highlight another common misconception about frack fluid. The required composition is highly variable. It will vary with different stages of each frack job at each site. There is no one recipe. It is almost constantly varying. Mark Miller himself points this out with his explanation that hydrochloric acid may only be needed in initial stages. The data sheet shows major variations between the stages listed.

So can we collate all this information that Cuadrilla has so kindly supplied us with and assume we have the full picture? I don’t think so.

We know from world renowned Dr Theo Colborn, in Gasland and other places, that she alone has evidence of around 980 products used in the US industry of which 78% are highly dangerous; in some cases even in microscopic quantities. The industry does not, presumably, use these additives for fun. The sequence near the end of Gasland that shows the industry man squirming as he is forced list the chemicals his company uses is fascinating. It corroborates evidence from Australia that shows that the industry regularly needs to use the following:

  • Strong acids to dissolve minerals
  • Numerous poisonous biocides to eliminate bacteria and algae
  • Friction reducers such as polyacylamides and mineral oils
  • Corrosion inhibitors to protect drills and well casings
  • Scale inhibitors to prevent furring
  • Surfactants and crosslinkers to adjust fluid viscosity
  • Acidity regulators
  • Breakers
  • Iron control agents

So if the the industry everywhere else in the world needs all these additional (underlined) components, how is that Cuadrilla can do without them?

Finally, let us nail the myth that there has to be full disclosure of chemicals used. There is no such UK legislation that I can find.
People like the EA have rights to visit and test samples whenever they like, but they can only find what they test for. If they do not know what they are looking for, they are most unlikely to find it! Dr Theo Colborn repeatedly makes this point.
Recently, the EA published its monitoring report of the flow back water from Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall site, near Blackpool, after they had fracked it. There was sufficient cause for concern about the high incidence of salts, minerals and heavy meatls, as well as radioactivity, that the EA are now saying that they will require permits in future. But most worrying, I would suggest, was the complete absence of any data on the chemicals that Cuadrilla admit to using, let alone ones they don’t!! The EA failed to look for any of them it would appear. How reassuring is that?

Even if the industry were legally obliged to divulge all their little secrets, would they? EA’s sampling methods are totally inadequate. If the companies keep their secrets, they are likely to get away with it, unless caught red-handed, as they are banking on getting in, cutting and running before the slow, insidious affects of their poisons have done their damage and been able to be proved. The EA recognise these companies ability to get away with it here:

“For example, at present company directors can legitimately walk away from environmental liabilities they have caused (e.g. Polluting groundwater and public drinking water supplies) by forming a new company and leaving a financial liability with the insolvent old company (Hunts Refuse Ltd at Helpston). This has resulted in public funds having to be used to clean up the pollution and protect public health.”

I rest my case.

Andy Chyba

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One thought on “The blatant lies of the frackers and their friends

  1. Pingback: No Fracking UK – ‘The blatant lies of the frackers and their friends’

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