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Letter: Treading Water: Pros And Cons Of Fracking

I read with interest about the panel discussion on the pros and cons of so-called “hydrofracking.” The debate as framed makes good points, however, it also misses a few key points.

When I was an exploration and development geologist for a Fortune 100 oil and gas company, for all the majors I worked with the preferred industry standard practice for both oil and gas well completions was called an “acid frac,” or an “acid job.” Based on my understanding, this is still the preferred method for non-horizontal wells, not hydrofracking.

The acids pumped into these wells, such as hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acid, are highly concentrated to “clean out” or dissolve rock and natural cements to produce preferential flow paths for oil and gas. These old practices involve hundreds of thousands of U.S. wells—more than are typically hydrofracked. These practices are unregulated, as are the drilling muds.

“Mud” is a misleading term. These muds are laden with polymers, chemicals, and heavy metals formulated to bring to the surface crushed rock, coat the borehole, and prevent blowouts. My company experienced a “blowout” in Oklahoma that blew the entire drill string out of the hole when it encountered an over-pressured gas zone and the mud was not thick enough to counter the massive pressure. Muds are excluded from reporting, regulation or oversight.

The key to a successful well is the completion method: the type of mud used and how the well casing is cemented into place. The blow-out of BP’s Deep Water Horizon Anaconda well in the Gulf is a recent case of questionable cementing practices. There was also a major blowout several years prior in Ohio.

Well-drilling and completions are not regulated, left up to what is termed “best professional practice.” Yet large areas and groundwater zones in many old producing areas in the U.S. are contaminated from prior practices. This calls for a broad-based effort by citizens and government to reduce deaths and injuries. Despite best practices, accidents do happen.

Stephen Cipot

News

On April 4, members of the Farmingdale Board of Fire Commissioners appointed three new Chiefs of the Farmingdale Fire Department. After 14 years of service with the department, the newly minted Chief Patrick Tortoso is ambitious about his new title. 

 

“I wouldn’t be here without my members' backing,” Tortoso said.

 

At the ceremony, Frank Romano, ex-Chief of the Farmingdale Fire Department, gave his final rundown of the 997 calls the department handled in 2013, before handing over the proverbial reigns to Tortoso. 

 

“You guys always did a standup job,” Romano said congratulating his commrades. “This has been a rewarding experience.” 

Farmingdale High School recently celebrated National Foreign Language Week, with food, fun, and festivities that made the week all the more special for everyone involved. 

 

Foreign Language Week is a time for schools across the country to not only acknowledge the various dialects in our nation, but to embrace the culture they accompany. In Farmingdale, students celebrate by specifically recognizing languages that are taught in the district, including: Spanish, French, Italian and American Sign Language.


Sports

John Galanoudis of Farmingdale, a junior student at Molloy College, batted .462 for the week with a .562 on-base percentage and a .615 slugging clip to help Molloy to a 3-1 series win over St. Thomas Aquinas. He scored four times, had six hits including two doubles, and drove in three runs. Galanoudis also stole a base and walked once.

 

— Submitted By ECC Sports

 

Erin Donovan of Farmingdale, a sophomore at Farmingdale State College, finished 6th in the High Jump at the St. Joseph’s Invitational competition. Her mark of 4 feet, 8.25 inches moves her to No. 7 on the All-Time list. 

 

— Submitted by the Farmingdale State College Athletics Department


Farmingdale High School’s Lady Dalers have staked an early lead in Nassau County Girl’s Varsity Lacrosse Conference I, after winning each of their last three games this season. Starting the season on the road, the Lady Dalers would open with a non-league victory over Sacred Heart on March 20. The Lady Dalers would go on to win the exhibition match 10-8, thanks to Tara Wahl who scored six goals to put Farmingdale in the lead. On March 22, the Lady Dalers would compete in their first game of the regular season against

South Side High School. During the game Jill Alonso put up two goals and four assists, helping the team to secure its 13-4 road win. 


Calendar

School Board Budget Adoption - April 9

CSEA Training - April 11

Comedy Dinner - April 11


Columns

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

Sustainable LI: Getting Good Things Done
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

LI’s ‘Most Prominent Lady In Politics’
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com