Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • The 'Boom' and you

  •      “I think this is the worst thing that can happen to our area,” said Windthorst resident Mark Downey regarding the incoming oil and gas industry.

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  • Editor's note: In an effort to gather the reactions, concerns and views our readers have about possible hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in the area, The Daily Globe will be running a series of reader comments and thoughts. If you would like to share your opinion, please contact Abigail Wilson at (620) 408-9917 or e-mail her at abigail.wilson@dodgeglobe.com.
    “I think this is the worst thing that can happen to our area,” said Windthorst resident Mark Downey regarding the incoming oil and gas industry.
    Downey lives on land his great-great-great grandfather homesteaded in 1858 and is afraid his family's claim will be no more. He made a promise to his grandmother that he would take care of the land and has been doing research into the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing process for over a year.
    “I don't think there will be anything left of this place as dry as it's been,” Downey said. “They're going to pump water for drilling and deplete the groundwater at 120 feet. That will take all of the water from the farm wells.”
    He is concerned with where companies like Chesapeake Energy and SandRidge Exploration and Production will find the 3-4 million gallons of water needed to drill each well.
    “There is going to be no water left, and what is left will not be fit to drink,” Downey said. “Not for man or livestock.”
    Through his research, Downey has found photos and stories of the “dangers of this process.”
    Downey said he has done a lot of research and has found information about chemicals leaked into groundwater.
    Downey is also concerned because the oil and gas industry is exempt from several U.S. laws. He listed the companies as exempt from the following: The Clean Water Act, The Safe Drinking Water Act, The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and The Clean Air Act. He also said they are not covered by the Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) which was created to help communities plan for emergencies involving hazardous substances.
    “If this process is so safe, why do they need these exemptions?” Downey said. “The main point is there are no laws in place as far as protecting the environment. They abide by a few rules and regulations that are in place for conventional drilling.”
    Downey said he is also concerned about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing which he said include arsenic, mercury, hydrogen sulfide and acetone.
    “They're pumping every caustic know to man, and some that aren't, in to the ground and because of the Haliburton loophole, they don't have to give info on them.”
    According to Downey, companies are allowed to hide behind the loophole and, in the case of a chemical infusion with the groundwater, they can just walk away.
    Page 2 of 2 - “If a creek gets contaminated and kills wildlife and cattle these companies will not be held responsible,” Downey said. “The cost of clean-up will fall completely on the county.”

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