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Indisputable Proof

October 19, 2012

When the anti-fracking movie Gasland was introduced in September, 2010, the most dramatic scene was when well water, contaminated with natural gas, was set on fire as it came from the faucet.

If people had been aware of this photo, published in the August, 1980, National Geographic Magazine, the entire discussion about fracking contaminating well water might have been changed.

Photo from August, 1980 issue of National Geographic Magazine

This is indisputable proof that well water is naturally contaminated with natural gas, and that it has been occurring for decades before fracking was used to drill for shale gas.

Here’s the text that accompanied the 1980s’ photo in the National Geographic Magazine

“The miracle of clean water at the turn of a tap is taken for granted by most Americans, but not [the homeowner] of Kettle River, Minnesota. Until he was forced to drill a new well thousands of feet deep, natural gas from his old well had to be flamed off every three days, or his tank would have exploded.”

When Gasland was released in 2010, many people said that natural gas had contaminated well water long before fracking became a common practice, but these statements were ignored or downplayed by the media. What a difference it could have made if the 1980 photo from the National Geographic Magazine had been publicized?

The producers of Gasland have a web site asking people to contact regulators to have fracking stopped. Perhaps it would be helpful if the regulators were made aware of the August 1980, National Geographic Magazine picture that predated the Gasland movie by 30 years.

Note: I stumbled on this issue of the National Geographic Magazine while researching an article on water usage.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2012 5:01 pm

    naturally occurring methane and other gases does NOT change the fact that fracking contaminates ground water.

  2. October 19, 2012 5:51 pm

    You are correct in saying that naturally occurring methane is not the determinant of whether or not fracking causes well water contamination.
    To this point, even the EPA admits there has been no proof that fracking contaminates water supplies, with the possible exception of Pavillion, WY. EPA tests in Pavillion are being contested for several reasons by ENCANA, not the least of which is that supposedly contaminant free quality control samples, against which well test samples were to be compared, were also contaminated.
    Finally, the National Graphic Magazine picture from 1980 is important because the Gasland movie used the flaming tap water as proof that fracking contaminated water supplies, and ignored the fact that methane seeps into water wells naturally.
    Thanks for your comment.

  3. April 24, 2013 10:46 pm

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