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Hydrofracked? One Man's Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling

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When the well water on Louis Meeks’ ranch turned brown and oily, he suspected that the thousands of natural gas wells dotting the once-empty Wyoming landscape were somehow to blame. The hard part was proving it. Meeks’ struggle to get the energy companies to take responsibility, meticulously documented through three years of investigative reporting by ProPublica’s Abrahm L When the well water on Louis Meeks’ ranch turned brown and oily, he suspected that the thousands of natural gas wells dotting the once-empty Wyoming landscape were somehow to blame. The hard part was proving it. Meeks’ struggle to get the energy companies to take responsibility, meticulously documented through three years of investigative reporting by ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten, coincide with a national uproar over the oil and gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing – a technology that promises to open large new energy supplies, perhaps at the expense of the nation’s water.


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When the well water on Louis Meeks’ ranch turned brown and oily, he suspected that the thousands of natural gas wells dotting the once-empty Wyoming landscape were somehow to blame. The hard part was proving it. Meeks’ struggle to get the energy companies to take responsibility, meticulously documented through three years of investigative reporting by ProPublica’s Abrahm L When the well water on Louis Meeks’ ranch turned brown and oily, he suspected that the thousands of natural gas wells dotting the once-empty Wyoming landscape were somehow to blame. The hard part was proving it. Meeks’ struggle to get the energy companies to take responsibility, meticulously documented through three years of investigative reporting by ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten, coincide with a national uproar over the oil and gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing – a technology that promises to open large new energy supplies, perhaps at the expense of the nation’s water.

30 review for Hydrofracked? One Man's Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling

  1. 4 out of 5

    Janette Fuller

    Hydraulic fracturing is a process that results in the creation of fractures in rocks. The most important industrial use is in stimulating oil and gas wells, where hydraulic fracturing has been used for over 60 years in more than one million wells. Man-made fluid-driven fractures are formed at depth in a borehole and extend into targeted formations. "Hydrofracked? One Man's Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling (Kindle Single)", by Abrahm Lustgarten from ProPublica, tells the s Hydraulic fracturing is a process that results in the creation of fractures in rocks. The most important industrial use is in stimulating oil and gas wells, where hydraulic fracturing has been used for over 60 years in more than one million wells. Man-made fluid-driven fractures are formed at depth in a borehole and extend into targeted formations. "Hydrofracked? One Man's Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling (Kindle Single)", by Abrahm Lustgarten from ProPublica, tells the story of one man's fight to find the cause of the polluted water well on his Wyoming property. ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Louis Meeks, a Vietnam War hero, has lived on his 40-acre plot of land near Pavillion, Wyoming, for over 35 years. In the spring of 2005, Meeks' water had turned bad. His tap ran cloudy, and the water shimmered with rainbow swirls across a filmy top. The scent was sharp, like gasoline. Mr. Meeks suspected that environmental factors were to blame. Since the mid 1990's, more than 1000 gas wells had been drilled in the region. Meeks learned that in hydraulic fracturing, a brew of chemicals is injected deep into the earth to lubricate the fracturing and work its way into the rock. How far it goes and where it ends up, no one really knows. Meeks wondered if that wasn't what ruined his well. This is a heart-wrenching story about one man's struggle to fight big government agencies and the oil and gas industries. The Meeks family has endured endless financial and personal defeats but they continue to fight. They have joined forces with some of their neighbors who also have polluted water. In November, 2010, Mr. Meeks had a heart attack. His doctors told him it was probably caused by stress. Mr. and Mrs. Meeks are still living on their ranch near Pavillion. They are drinking bottled water but do not have clean water to bath in, or to water the garden or to feed the animals. A realtor said that because of the water problems, the property is worthless and could not be sold. This story makes me feel very angry. This could happen to anyone. I live in a rural area and I am dependant on a water well. There is research being done and evidence is being collected....I think we will be hearing much more about this problem in the future.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Blain

    If you don't know what hydrofracking is this short book is a good introduction, and you can find it for free. Although this report does not delve into the technology of this mining technique in depth it does shed light on the struggles of any individual who tries to stand up and bring awareness of an environmental issue to the community; neighbors upset that your ruining their home prices, the scientific difficulty of finding a 'smoking gun', the monstrously slow movements of government agencies If you don't know what hydrofracking is this short book is a good introduction, and you can find it for free. Although this report does not delve into the technology of this mining technique in depth it does shed light on the struggles of any individual who tries to stand up and bring awareness of an environmental issue to the community; neighbors upset that your ruining their home prices, the scientific difficulty of finding a 'smoking gun', the monstrously slow movements of government agencies which are hindered from doing what they were originally designed for and the problem of ever trying to stop something that other people are making money at. Although the narrative is a bit dry and formulaic (if your familiar with a news writing style) if you have any interest in environmental issues "Hydrofracked?" is worth the short reading time and free cost.

  3. 5 out of 5

    E.D. Martin

    This book left me really frustrated. Basically: Oil companies come in and say, "Hey, trust us that we're acting in your best interests." Communities suddenly have nasty water and exploding wells and houses. People blame the oil companies, particularly when they use fracking. Oil companies pay billions to states. Governments tell people there's no connection. People keep complaining. Oil companies pay billions to lobbyists. Governments tell people there's no connection. Meanwhile, the environment is scre This book left me really frustrated. Basically: Oil companies come in and say, "Hey, trust us that we're acting in your best interests." Communities suddenly have nasty water and exploding wells and houses. People blame the oil companies, particularly when they use fracking. Oil companies pay billions to states. Governments tell people there's no connection. People keep complaining. Oil companies pay billions to lobbyists. Governments tell people there's no connection. Meanwhile, the environment is screwed. But hey, the states are making billions, so who cares about contaminated water and health problems once fracking starts? I hate hate HATE that corporations can have so much power and such little sense of morality!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Donna R

    Long ago when my Kindle was shiny new and mysterious I frantically downloaded as much free stuff as I could find - and this was one of those. It isn't something I would have picked up in a store or library so it came as some surprise when it affected me as it did. While reading it I had what I think of as "the emperor has no clothes" moment - there he is prancing down the road waving his hands (and various other bits) at the cheering crowd and he's naked as a jay bird. No-one has the courage to Long ago when my Kindle was shiny new and mysterious I frantically downloaded as much free stuff as I could find - and this was one of those. It isn't something I would have picked up in a store or library so it came as some surprise when it affected me as it did. While reading it I had what I think of as "the emperor has no clothes" moment - there he is prancing down the road waving his hands (and various other bits) at the cheering crowd and he's naked as a jay bird. No-one has the courage to tell him he's naked and so the farce goes on. Where will I be when the verdict comes in that fracking is the environmental disaster we did not need.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Im interested in the idea of Fracking and its impacts on the environment in a time where we need to be focusing on changing to renewable energy sources rather than finite ones. Once again it is the story of the 'small man' vs. the corporate machine and the battle to gain anything from it. It was quite disturbing to read about the problems experienced by the family involved at a variety of levels - health, economic etc. and how vunerable and unable to help themselves they felt. Definately one I wil Im interested in the idea of Fracking and its impacts on the environment in a time where we need to be focusing on changing to renewable energy sources rather than finite ones. Once again it is the story of the 'small man' vs. the corporate machine and the battle to gain anything from it. It was quite disturbing to read about the problems experienced by the family involved at a variety of levels - health, economic etc. and how vunerable and unable to help themselves they felt. Definately one I will be recommendng my 6th Form pupils to read as part of thier energy supply issues module.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Five stars are for the subject matter -- Very timely and important essay on hydrofracking. I don't have the answer as to what is the right way to resolve our energy needs, but don't think this method of drilling is right. I think it is more important to have clean, safe drinking water than cheap energy. The oil companies need to be compelled to be more transparent with the chemicals they use in hydrofracking well drilling!! Five stars are for the subject matter -- Very timely and important essay on hydrofracking. I don't have the answer as to what is the right way to resolve our energy needs, but don't think this method of drilling is right. I think it is more important to have clean, safe drinking water than cheap energy. The oil companies need to be compelled to be more transparent with the chemicals they use in hydrofracking well drilling!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This essay (free for Amazon Kindle, also at propublica.org) deals with the little known risks of natural gas drilling, in particular in regards to the water suppy. An important work of investigative journalism, a must read for anyone whose water supply could be effected. Lustgarten does a good job of explaining how the process works and discussing the science.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Chilcote

    this gives five stars not for the writing, but for the timeliness – for the urgency – NO FOR THE EMERGENCY I feel about it. You can read it in an hour and a half if you skim – but it will in lighten your thinking for a decade and a half. We have to know this stuff. The environmental damage were doing with the way we are increasingly pumping the gas out from underneath the earth.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Msgrv Csicablenet

    This was very enlightening abaout what is happening to our earth when drilling abounds. Is it a good thing we are having the big oil boom in Williston? Is the Keystone Pipeline a good thing for America or is it what I fear a eviromental disaster ! Read about the truth about drilling! Controvesal to say the least.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brian Borgford

    Obviously not enough attention is being paid to this issue. The majority of the evidence in this book is circumstantial, but it's overwhelmingly. The objective evidence is enough to cause any sane person to think about it. JI doesn't seem to agree with evidence, but what else is new. Definitely not the end of the story. Thanks for writing it. Obviously not enough attention is being paid to this issue. The majority of the evidence in this book is circumstantial, but it's overwhelmingly. The objective evidence is enough to cause any sane person to think about it. JI doesn't seem to agree with evidence, but what else is new. Definitely not the end of the story. Thanks for writing it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    This is a look at an issue that is in the news from the perspective of an individual living on land that he believes damaged by hydrofracking. This is far more balanced than some might suspect and gives us non-engineers a good introduction to the issues involved.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hartwell Hartwell

    Very Informative Very informative and well written. It highlights the point that although "fracking" has substantial benefits, the environmental impact was not well known at the time this story was written. Very Informative Very informative and well written. It highlights the point that although "fracking" has substantial benefits, the environmental impact was not well known at the time this story was written.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ed Barton

    Poignant Take some time to read this short book/article. There is a real cost to our energy independence, and a cost that isn’t being transparently discussed. Health and environmental costs are real and need to be understood. This story shows one situation among many.

  14. 5 out of 5

    S. K. Pentecost

    Well written news about wells. Lustgarten communicates a sense of the unfairness inherent in battling the system. He takes us on a roller-coaster ride of urgency, hopelessness, then light at the end of the tunnel. Luis Meeks is relatable. He's the kind of guy you want to win. The gas companies are secretive, misrepresenting fat cats; the perfect bad guys. If I were still naïve enough to think it was possible, I'd say this story almost writes itself. This is a story about problems. It doesn't tackl Well written news about wells. Lustgarten communicates a sense of the unfairness inherent in battling the system. He takes us on a roller-coaster ride of urgency, hopelessness, then light at the end of the tunnel. Luis Meeks is relatable. He's the kind of guy you want to win. The gas companies are secretive, misrepresenting fat cats; the perfect bad guys. If I were still naïve enough to think it was possible, I'd say this story almost writes itself. This is a story about problems. It doesn't tackle the wider issue of "how then do we get our energy?" Also if I were able to talk to Luis Meeks through some magical medium of instantaneous communication, I would like to ask him about the feasibility of rainwater collection. I promise I've seen it done in the high desert.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katarina Nolte

    This ProPublica ebook tells the story of a former gas well worker turned rancher and the problems he experiences due to fracking activities in his region. The area of Eastern Wyoming plays a central role, where drinking water suddenly turns cloudy, shiny and foul tasting. The book provides the reader with a short history of gas drilling, current drilling locations, 1980s – present methane drilling, and the hydraulic fracturing boom which begun in the mid 1990s. ... Book Review: Hydrofracked? One m This ProPublica ebook tells the story of a former gas well worker turned rancher and the problems he experiences due to fracking activities in his region. The area of Eastern Wyoming plays a central role, where drinking water suddenly turns cloudy, shiny and foul tasting. The book provides the reader with a short history of gas drilling, current drilling locations, 1980s – present methane drilling, and the hydraulic fracturing boom which begun in the mid 1990s. ... Book Review: Hydrofracked? One man’s mystery leads to a backlash against natural gas drilling By Abrahm Lustgarten | Katarina Nolte https://katarinanolte.com/WordPressBl...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paola

    The book recounts the nightmarish experience of a man who finds his watersupply contaminated - most probably by fracking carried out in the vicinity. We then learn of all the possible negative consequences of fracking on the environment, and of how energy companies lobby hard to prevent environmental controls. The analysis is strongly one sided, and not particularly scientific, still it had the merit to push me to find out more about fracking. Nevertheless, unless you can borrow it (or get it as The book recounts the nightmarish experience of a man who finds his watersupply contaminated - most probably by fracking carried out in the vicinity. We then learn of all the possible negative consequences of fracking on the environment, and of how energy companies lobby hard to prevent environmental controls. The analysis is strongly one sided, and not particularly scientific, still it had the merit to push me to find out more about fracking. Nevertheless, unless you can borrow it (or get it as a freebie as I did) it contains no information that you could not find elsewhere, and I am not sure the sameinformation could not have conveyed in a much shorter book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Raymond

    A Kindle Single by a ProPublica writer (should have been the first warning sign) about one person's experience with fracking near his area. It's an incomplete piece, not noting a single bit about the science behind fracking or fracking safety, and a number of poor insinuations about what was going on without actually casting blame directly (possibly for legal reasons). Not the first place I'd want anyone to go for information on natural gas drilling, for sure. Not recommended at all. A Kindle Single by a ProPublica writer (should have been the first warning sign) about one person's experience with fracking near his area. It's an incomplete piece, not noting a single bit about the science behind fracking or fracking safety, and a number of poor insinuations about what was going on without actually casting blame directly (possibly for legal reasons). Not the first place I'd want anyone to go for information on natural gas drilling, for sure. Not recommended at all.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    From the Amazon webpage: ProPublica has made this Single available for free to Kindle customers. Your contribution to ProPublica, a non-profit publisher, will help them reveal critical stories that otherwise wouldn't be told--stories that make a difference. First time I've noticed that but I like the concept. From the Amazon webpage: ProPublica has made this Single available for free to Kindle customers. Your contribution to ProPublica, a non-profit publisher, will help them reveal critical stories that otherwise wouldn't be told--stories that make a difference. First time I've noticed that but I like the concept.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eric Wright

    Interesting - curious about what 'fracking', or hydrofracking is: then you should read this. While this can be seen as one person's frustration and fight with "big oil" - there is a science aspect meaningful to everyone. Remember in the '70's when leaded gasoline was safe because the industry said so, now the industry is saying hydrofracking is safe because there is no proof it is harmful. Interesting - curious about what 'fracking', or hydrofracking is: then you should read this. While this can be seen as one person's frustration and fight with "big oil" - there is a science aspect meaningful to everyone. Remember in the '70's when leaded gasoline was safe because the industry said so, now the industry is saying hydrofracking is safe because there is no proof it is harmful.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    An interesting essay on natural gas drilling, bringing up some of the issues involved, but while there is strong evidence for the fact that there are dangers, by the end of the essay it didn't really seem like any real conclusions had been drawn. An interesting essay on natural gas drilling, bringing up some of the issues involved, but while there is strong evidence for the fact that there are dangers, by the end of the essay it didn't really seem like any real conclusions had been drawn.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    currently still free...why don't you "buy" it outright?... even if you don't own a Kindle, this short piece is a very good reason to download the app for pc. currently still free...why don't you "buy" it outright?... even if you don't own a Kindle, this short piece is a very good reason to download the app for pc.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    Very interesting account of environmental damage.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Walter

    This is a great intro to the hydralic fracture story, and is made personal by telling it through the eyes of Meeks and his fight with huge drilling corporations.

  24. 4 out of 5

    April

    not exactly an enjoyable subject but very interesting none the less

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rebecka Hoyt

    Remember the Erin Brokovich movie? This book gives you insight into what people went through during this time, and how. long it takes to get something to happen.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    Interesting first person account of natural gas drilling gone wrong. Interesting read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    Interesting read on man view and fight against the big gas companies.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cara Schwarz

    Although it was not expertly written, makes you think about big business and their influence ...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Velvetink

    kindle

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael Adams

    Informative I had never heard of this man or his story before, but it really goes to show you how easy it is for big companies to bypass laws and hurt the environment and the smaller people. And it shows how hard it is for these smaller people to fight back against these larger companies.

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