Jay Hanas (Letters, "A fracking mischaracterization," Feb. 10, Gazette) would do well to acquaint himself with the proper and customary spelling of the process utilized to stimulate oil and gas wells if he wants to seem credible. It is spelled "fracing," not "fracking."
He impugns my character by stating that I am possibly taking a biased position given I have earned a living by selling chemicals to the oil industry. Since I am a fourth-generation "oily," I think it is only natural that I would defend the petroleum industry against unwarranted attacks by people who are "greenie weenies" or despise "Big Oil."
And, for his information, I am very familiar with horizontal drilling. Also, he should be advised that drilling, fracturing and acidizing are different procedures, and utilize different fluids and additives. It is very evident that he knows very little about these operations.
For some reason, he keeps wanting to refer to diesel fuel as being toxic. If it is, why do we allow millions of gallons of this substance to be stored in aboveground tanks (some as large as 5,000 barrels), in underground tanks at convenience stores or truck stops that sell fuel, and in 55-gallon drums and 500-gallon bulk tanks? I have utilized diesel fuel as a fencerow weed killer on many occasions. Since it is biodegradable, re-treatment is necessary every spring. By the way, I have never noticed any harm to family pets or songbirds in the yard. Whereas I would not want to consume diesel, it is safe enough to power our cars, trucks, trains and heavy equipment through our neighborhoods and cities.
Just to confirm my opinion about fracing, I contacted a friend of mine who works as a consultant for a large firm that does business with most of the major oil companies. He advised me that less than one half of 1 percent of the frac jobs in the U.S. utilize diesel as the primary carrying agent for frac sand. He also advised me that the industry has moved away from using diesel in guar slurries to a minimum-based LGS (liquid guar slurry) which is bio-friendly, just to allay undue fears.
With regard to Hanas referring to The Wall Street Journal as a reference, I have been a longtime subscriber. I find it to be interesting and informative. However, just because they publish an article about some medical procedure, I don't think I will allow them to operate on me. The Society of Petroleum Engineers "Journal of Petroleum Technology" would be a better source of information for Hanas.
Hanas indicated that I took the position that the EPA has said fracing is completely safe. This is false. I stated that they have not found evidence that it is not safe. I am sure they will continue to investigate every aspect of the petroleum industry until doomsday!