This is in response to Wyatt Till's letter "Should we worry?" of March 29.
I agree with him that hydraulic fracturing has certainly become a debatable topic. I compliment him on being part of the Project Citizen Group. What I disagree with is that as a student he should have researched the subject of his letter and found that the content of fracturing fluids is generally known. Wikipedia states "The fluid injected into the rock is typically slurry of water, proppants and chemical additives. Additionally, gels, foams and compressed gases, including nitrogen, carbon dioxide and air can be injected. Typically, of the fracturing fluid 90 percent is water and 9.5 percent is sand (a proppant) with the chemical additives accounting to about 0.5 percent." Many companies have also released the content of the fluids they use.
The specific chemicals listed in Wikipedia are "Acids - hydrochloric acid or acetic acid, sodium chloride (salt), polyacrylamide and other friction reducers, ethylene glycol, borate salts, sodium and potassium carbonates, glutaraldehyde - used as disinfectant of the water, guar gum and other water-soluble gelling agents, citric acid and isopropanol." Some adaptations of the above are used by individual companies to achieve the desired result of stimulating oil and gas production.
Certainly no one is going to drink this material, nor would we drink any of the chemicals we find underneath our kitchen sink, even if diluted by 99.5 percent water. The point is not just what is in it, but how it is handled and protected from release into the human environment. If mistakes are made, which happens, contamination can occur. Statistics show that these instances are rare, but when it happens to you it is obviously very important.
We only need to be worried if proper safeguards are not employed in the storage of fracturing fluids, and in the safe execution of the hydraulic fracturing process. Companies are responsible for both, and are held accountable by regulatory agencies if mistakes are made. Modern society uses a multitude of chemicals that benefit our daily lives. Most we take for granted.
Glenn Vawter, petroleum engineer
In response to the letter written by "Uncle" Joe Lewis on March 29: "No one person should have the authority to make a decision that affects so many."
So in that case, I would assume you would be uncomfortable with the numerous executive orders that President Obama has put in place during his terms? Or any other president before him?
Or is it that you just don't agree with the idea of drilling in the Thompson Divide? I am sure that if you knew that Steve Bennett was anti-gas, you would love any decision he made.
Here's another quote from you: "We don't need the gas anyway." So I am then to assume that you, "Uncle" Joe, must ride a bike everywhere you go, use only solar and wind to power your home, cook on an open campfire and did not use the Internet to send in your letter. For surely these pesky fossil fuels would only complicate your obvious "higher existence" from the rest of us lowly fuel consumers.
The Western Slope of Colorado has provided many families with income based on fossil fuels of many kinds for decades upon decades. Until you enlighten us with the ability to lube your Prius with mule dung or some other such "natural" substance and heat your house with faith and good intentions, all Americans will continue to need fossil fuels, including natural gas.