Monday, August 13, 2012

Association of American State Geologists Declares Fracking To Be Safe

Could those groups scaring everyone about the dangers to our water supply caused by fracking be exaggerating?  To put it politely, YES.  The Association Of American State Geologists position statement on hydraulic fracturing is as follows:

AASG on Hydraulic Fracturing
August 12, 2012 | Association of American State Geologists“After decades of hydraulic fracturing-related activity there is little evidence if any that hydraulic fracturing itself has contaminated fresh groundwater. No occurrences are known where hydraulic fracturing fluids have moved upward from the zone of fracturing of a horizontal well into the fresh drinking water.” Quoted from the Association of American State Geologists statement.

Hydraulic fracturing as applied in the oil and gas industry (commonly referred to as "fracking," "fracing," or "hydrofracking") is
the process of pumping a mixture of water, sand or similar material, and chemical additives, under high pressure, to create small
interconnecting fractures to increase permeability in targeted subsurface rock formations. Oil and gas companies perform
hydraulic fracturing after a well is drilled, cased and cemented, to increase the well’s productivity. Sand is used to prop open the
fractures, and chemical additives reduce friction, control bacteria, decrease corrosion, and serve other purposes. More than 50
percent of the natural gas, and a growing percentage of the oil, produced in the U.S. comes from hydraulically fractured
reservoirs. The following statement describes hydraulic fracturing in the oil and gas industry, discusses environmental concerns
about the practice and associated activity, and expresses the position of the Association of American State Geologists (AASG).
For an oil or gas well to be productive, hydrocarbons must flow through the rocks in which they are contained (the reservoir) into
the well and to the surface. Much of the oil and gas resource in the U.S. resides in "tight" rock formations, rocks so impermeable
that they do not allow oil and gas to flow easily through the rock to the wellbore. Reservoir rocks are fractured to enhance their
permeability and enable oil and natural gas to flow. Hydraulic fracturing is employed on both traditional vertical wells and on
horizontal wells, which are increasingly common. Most of these wells would not flow at rates that would make the drilling of the
well worthwhile without hydraulic fracturing. The combination of horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing has led to increasing both
oil and natural gas production and the addition of large new reserves in the United States after years of decline.
Hydraulic fracturing was first used in the oil and gas industry in the U.S. in 1947. Since then, more than one million oil and gas
wells have been hydraulically fractured in the U.S., and hydraulic fracturing has become a common well-stimulation technique.
The application of hydraulic fracturing to horizontally drilled wells uses higher volumes of fluids than more traditional applications.
Today’s accumulated geological and engineering knowledge and improved technology are used to protect public health and the
environment while producing larger volumes of oil and gas. Modern wellbore casing and cementing are designed to isolate
freshwater aquifers from hydraulically fractured oil and gas reservoirs, which are generally thousands of feet below the aquifers.
Casing and cementing are required and regulated by state regulatory agencies and have performed as intended in the oil and
natural gas wells already drilled and currently operating in the U.S.
Environmental impacts are a concern for any activity on or below the land’s surface, including drilling and hydraulically fracturing
an oil or gas well. Constant vigilance is imperative to insure the quality of air, land, and water. Environmental issues raised in
association with hydraulic fracturing and other drilling and production operations include the potential for contamination of fresh
groundwater, water consumption, earthquakes triggered by injecting fluids, venting or flaring methane, and the disposal of fluids.
When they occur, most of these problems are not related to hydraulic fracturing, but to the drilling, casing and cementing of the
well, or disposal of fluids.

After decades of hydraulic fracturing-related activity there is little evidence if any that hydraulic fracturing itself has contaminated
fresh groundwater. No occurrences are known where hydraulic fracturing fluids have moved upward from the zone of fracturing of
a horizontal well into the fresh drinking water. In a single case currently under investigation, contamination may have occurred
when a vertical well was hydraulically fractured in a zone just a few hundred feet below the base of the freshwater. In most cases,
however, freshwater aquifers are near the surface, and are thousands of feet above deeply buried oil- or gas-bearing formations.
Under these geologic conditions, it is highly unlikely that a connection would develop between a hydraulically fractured oil or gas
reservoir and a freshwater aquifer. To further minimize the chance of such a connection, it is important to locate and plug any
abandoned wells that could provide a conduit between reservoir rocks and shallower freshwater aquifers, although no cases are
known where this has led to groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing fluids. Contamination has occurred, however,
from spills or mishandling of hydraulic fracturing fluids on the surface. Sound professional and regulatory practices therefore
should be diligently followed when handling fluids on the surface to minimize or eliminate this source of contamination.
Known instances of methane migration associated with well drilling are unrelated to hydraulic fracturing and could occur while
drilling any kind of well. All wells should be carefully cemented and tested properly to avoid methane migration. In some areas,
methane occurs in water wells because there is a natural source of methane within or just beneath the aquifer and in these cases
methane was present in water wells long before drilling or the use of hydraulic fracturing. It is important for oil and gas regulatory
agencies to determine if methane in freshwater wells has increased following drilling activities. This can only be done if baseline
water quality testing is carried out before oil and gas drilling. Also, enhanced practices and regulations may be required to
minimize release of methane, a greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere.


The Association of American State Geologists (AASG) represents the State Geologists of the
50 United States and Puerto Rico. Founded in 1908, AASG seeks to advance the science
and practical application of geology and related earth sciences in the United States and its
territories, commonwealths, and possessions.

AASG statement

State geological surveys are important sources of information and expertise related to subsurface geology, water resources, and
energy. AASG members regularly monitor and discuss issues related to hydraulic fracturing. Several state surveys have been
engaged in investigations of potential freshwater contamination that may have been caused by recent hydraulic fracturing-related
activities; others are undertaking research on, and providing information about, hydraulic fracturing. The following points constitute
AASG’s position on hydraulic fracturing:
• AASG advocates that comprehensive public information based on sound science and open processes be utilized when
formulating energy and environmental policy. We encourage a balanced, independent, fact-based analysis of controversies
regarding natural resource development.
• AASG supports and encourages the disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids and chemical additives on FracFocus, the
hydraulic fracturing chemical registry website, developed by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) and the
Groundwater Protection Council (GWPC).
• AASG advocates for better understanding and scientific documentation of our subsurface geology and aquifers, which will
result in improved geologic models to help all parties avoid problems that might occur during drilling and hydraulic fracturing
activities of oil or gas reservoirs, especially in new fields. This will allow safer and enhanced production of oil and gas.
• AASG is committed to protecting the nation’s public safety and the natural environment, including groundwater and
surface-water resources. AASG supports the wise and prudent production of oil and gas resources to help fulfill the nation’s
energy needs.
• AASG recognizes the economic and social importance, and the abundance, of oil and gas resources that only can be
recovered if reservoir rocks are hydraulically fractured.
• AASG maintains that state oil and gas regulatory agencies are best equipped, through statutory authority, expertise, and
experience, to ensure that hydraulic fracturing and all other operations associated with oil and natural gas development
proceed in a manner that protects the natural environment, including public safety as well as groundwater and surface-water
• AASG recognizes that the environmental record of hydraulic fracturing activities over the past 60 years has been
overwhelmingly positive. AASG also maintains that operators who do not follow regulatory requirements should be
appropriately sanctioned and, where appropriate, barred from conducting further oil and gas operations.
• AASG notes that geologic data generally show a significant vertical separation between most oil and natural gas reservoirs
targeted for hydraulic fracturing and the shallower freshwater aquifers. In areas where targets of hydraulic fracturing are
comparatively close to freshwater aquifers, thorough geologic characterization of the area is warranted and even greater
caution should be exercised by operators and regulatory agencies.
• AASG recognizes the fast pace of recent drilling for oil and natural gas and the associated hydraulic fracturing activities. AASG
suggests that caution and careful attention to community relations be exercised by operators, contractors, and regulators in the
design, review, approval, documentation, implementation, and verification of plans for the drilling, completion, stimulation and
production of oil and gas wells.
• AASG encourages continuing work to acquire and maintain local pre-drilling water quality assessment and ongoing information
on groundwater quality, and recommends that casing and cementing operations in hydraulically fractured wells be carefully
documented by operators, contractors, and regulators.
Water used for hydraulic fracturing is generally obtained from nearby water wells, lakes, streams and rivers. Although a
substantial amount of water is used in hydraulic fracturing, this represents a one-time use, and the amount is considerably less
than the volumes required in other common ongoing uses, such as agriculture, municipal supplies, and industrial processes. Oil
and gas operators must follow state laws in the acquisition and use of water and make sure that they do not negatively impact
local (individual, city, or county) water supplies. The industry is working to reduce their freshwater needs, including recycling the
water they use in hydraulic fracturing operations.
Much of the water used in hydraulic fracturing flows from the well along with gas, oil, and saline water during normal production
operations. That "wastewater," or “flow-back water," must be recycled or disposed of properly. Disposal is generally through deep
wells drilled specifically for that purpose. In some locations, injecting returned water into deep wells has triggered small earthquakes
(generally less than Magnitude 3.0), a phenomenon called triggered seismicity or induced seismicity. Proper well siting
away from faults and using managed injection rates and pressures can minimize or eliminate triggered seismicity.
With new technologies, exploration has expanded into areas and communities that have seen little oil and gas drilling, or have
not seen it recently. That has created a variety of new issues--some positive, some negative. Caution, good judgment, and sound
regulatory practices must be exercised in areas where less information is available about the subsurface geology.

Co-Chairs, Energy Committee Co-Chairs, Environmental Policy Committee

Scott W. Tinker Nick Tew Karl Muessig David K. Norman
Texas State Geologist Alabama State Geologist New Jersey Geological Survey WA Div. of Geology and Earth Resources

Monday, August 6, 2012

While The Overall Economy Is Looking Dark, Oil And Gas Industry Is Looking Bright

Imagine what the production figures would look like if we had an Administration in Washington that actually supported the oil and gas industry instead of fighting it every step of the way?

An oil revolution is taking place in the US West and Mid-Continent


July 1, 2012
Fred Lawrence and Ron Planting, IPAA, Washington, DC
While the blockbuster plays in states such as Texas and North Dakota make the biggest headlines for increases in US crude oil production, there's no denying that developments in other states together add up to significant gains. Just like the other plays, many of these involved the technological advances of horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing. The US map shown here indicates how widespread horizontal drilling has become.

Oil states

After North Dakota and Texas, there is a significant tier of states where crude oil production is increasing on a steady basis (See Figure 1). Six states in the western half of the US combined have increased US oil production by about 240,000 barrels per day (b/d) since early 2007. These include:
  • Oklahoma – Crude oil production has risen about 70,000 b/d from January 2007 through February 2012 (the latest available from the Energy Information Administration).
  • Colorado and New Mexico – Each saw increases of about 50,000 b/d over that period.
  • Utah and Kansas – Each had 30,000 b/d increases.
  • Wyoming – While Wyoming's net gain over the period was just 10,000 b/d, the state has seen a steady increase of twice that figure since bottoming out in mid-2009.
Since January 2007, these six states have increased crude oil production from a little more than 650,000 b/d to almost 900,000 b/d, an increase of nearly 37% collectively over a five-year span. This is roughly equivalent to the amount of oil produced by Colombia and Indonesia.

To read the remainder of the article click on the following link.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fracking China

The following is an excerpt from the linked article on exporting shale oil and gas drilling and production technology.  We need all the exports we can get.

Will the U.S. export fracking to the rest of the world?

"Fracking could also catch on in China, eventually. Jenny Mandel recently wrote a long and comprehensive piece in E&E News on the country’s growing interest in U.S. shale gas technology. China is a tantalizing landscape for drillers — the country has an estimated 1,275 trillion cubic feet of “technically recoverable” gas, compared with 862 trillion cubic feet in the United States. But fracking has been slow going. The geology is much more difficult to work in — many of China’s shale formations are far deeper underground — and the lack of private property rights has hindered development. (Meanwhile, the biggest shale gas prize lies in the Tarim Basin out west in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous province. But water is hard to come by in that arid region — and fracking needs plenty of water.)"

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bakken Oil Boom Continuing

Until there is a viable alternative to oil, the increase in production all over the United States, not just from the Bakken, can only be seen as good for America.  The following are some of the numbers and facts, from the Federal Reserve Bank of  Minneapolis.  Click on the following link to see more data and graphs.

The Bakken Oil Boom

The Bakken oil boom dwarfs previous oil production expansions in Montana and North Dakota. Explore a range of economic, demographic and financial data for the Bakken, and learn about factors driving jobs and other forms of development in the oil patch of North Dakota and Montana.
Location of oil patch in the Ninth District
Oil Drilling Rigs
June 2012Pct. change from a year earlier
North Dakota20024%
Oil drilling in Montana and North Dakota picked up beginning in 2004 until prices dropped below $60 per barrel in 2008, considered the break-even price for shale drilling and oil production at the time. Drilling accelerated again once oil prices recovered.
Oil production
Data Dashboard
Production (millions of barrels)
May 2012Pct. change from a year earlier
Bakken Oil Counties18.979%
Rest of Montana0.6 -24%
Rest of North Dakota2.0 1%
The Bakken area represents most of oil production in Montana and North Dakota.

The Bakken area

Detailed map of the oil patch in the Ninth District
Oil map thumbnail
Data on Demographic, Economic and Financial Activity in the Bakken [pdf]
This document reviews a range of demographic, economic and financial data for the Bakken. We compare the Bakken with the rest of Montana and the rest of North Dakota, as of June 20, 2012.

More about oil in the Ninth District

Frac sand mining spurs rural rail
fedgazette Roundup, July 19, 2012
Sand surge
fedgazette, July 16, 2012
In Minnesota and Wisconsin, frac sand mining has lifted local economies—and stirred opposition

Desperately seeking workers in the oil patch
fedgazette, April 18, 2012
Jobs go begging in booming western North Dakota and northeastern Montana

No room at the inn
fedgazette, April 18, 2012
For newcomers to oil country, their first job is finding a place to live
Faces and places from the oil patch
fedgazette, April 18, 2012
After the oil rush
fedgazette, September 1, 2009
In the Williston Basin, less drilling activity has created uncertainty about the future

Location of the Bakken in the Ninth District

Location of oil patch in the Ninth District

Jobs in the oil patch

Video: fedgazette Senior Writer Phil Davies talks about jobs in the oil patch

Conserving Water While Fracing

The following link will take you to an excellent article about how fracing is being done with minimal water usage, simply by recycling .  Anyone who has a swimming pool knows the water is kept clean by removing debris like leaves and grass, regularly using  chemicals to kill bacteria and algae, (mainly chlorine), and continually filtering the water.  Basically, the same thing can be done with the water used to frac oil and gas wells.    It may not be "rocket science", but it works, it is safe, and it greatly reduces the amount of water used.  That you can take to the bank and use as one more  weapon against the opponents of fracing.

Water Demands Spark Improved Technology For Fracing
The fracing industry has long considered water a nuisance. But water reclamation and treatment companies see H2O as liquid gold, and the technologies they bring to the game will play a pivotal role in the shale boom.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Marcellus Shale Gas Development Update

Everyone should follow the Marcellus Shale Coalition which regularly puts out a newsletter containing information and news such as the following.  Here is their contact information:

Marcellus Shale Coalition | 24 Summit Park Drive | Pittsburgh, PA 15275 |

America needs to become productinve again.  We can not just be consumers.  Eventually that credit card gets "maxed out" and the shopping game is over.  It's time to get back to work.  Developing our shale gas (and oil) is a very good beginning.

What They’re Saying: American Natural Gas Drives “Economic Growth and Prosperity”

Pittsburgh, Pa. – It’s difficult to go an entire day – or hour – without a reminder of the economic difficulties facing America, especially for the millions looking for work. This week, the Associated Press reports that “As U.S. hiring as declined, so has consumer and business confidence.” The Associated Press also recently reports that “High unemployment isn't going away” in the United States. These are historically challenging times. For its part, though, America’s natural gas producers – along with a robust supply chain – continue to make critical investments leading to expanded economic growth, private sector job creation and strengthened energy security all while protecting the environment. Here’s what they’re saying.


· Help Wanted: Trucking Jobs Widely Available in the Marcellus: [PGT Trucking Inc. CEO Pat] Gallagher said recent developments with Marcellus shale drilling in the area have created more opportunities for drivers to seize local driving jobs that will have them home every night. “Most people in Beaver County who want a trucking job will have one,” Gallagher said. (Beaver Co. Times, 7/29/12)
· “Lt. Gov. Cawley says Marcellus Shale Creating Jobs in Blair Co.”: Marcellus Shale natural gas is helping to create family-sustaining jobs in Blair County and across Pennsylvania, Lt. Governor Jim Cawley said today during a tour of New Pig Corporation in Tipton. "Whether it is at one of the drill sites in the southern end of the county or right here at New Pig, Marcellus Shale is creating good, family-sustaining jobs. Governor Tom Corbett and I want to see more of this happen across the state," said Cawley. Cawley cited recent Department of Labor and Industry statistics showing that 29,000 people are working in the drilling industry in the state with average annual earnings of $81,000. There are about 238,000 people working in related industries. He also noted that natural gas drilling has produced $1.6 billion in state tax revenues since 2006 and helped to reduce energy costs across Pennsylvania. (Release, 7/26/12)
· “Gas Co. Donation Ensures Safety”: Thanks to one of the companies constructing a pipeline in Dallas Township, Back Mountain emergency personnel have a new tool at their disposal to help respond to calls related to the natural gas industry. PVR Partners, formerly Chief Gathering LLC, recently donated a Polaris Ranger 800EF all-terrain vehicle to Dallas Fire & Ambulance Inc. … Mark Van Etten, president of Dallas Fire & Ambulance Inc., said the organization has been looking for ways to better equip personnel to respond to natural gas emergencies as the industry continues to move into the area. … PVR Partners Vice President Mark Casaday, a Dallas High School graduate, said it is the company’s policy to aid the communities in which it does business. … “It’s our policy to help out.” (Dallas Post, 7/29/12)
· Job-Creating Shale Gas Creating “Optimism”: Local business leaders have been enthusiastic in their embrace of fracking. "That's a long time coming, and that creates optimism," said Thomas Humphries, president of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. The industry has already created more than a thousand jobs in the region thanks in part to a European company called Vallourec SA, whose V&M Star unit will soon begin operating a new $650 million mill to manufacture the steel tubes used in extracting the natural gas. Regional homeowners, meanwhile, are cashing in by selling their mineral rights. (CBS News, 7/24/12)
· “Marcellus Summer Camp Held at Mansfield University”: The first ever Marcellus Summer Camp was held at Mansfield University July 8 to 10. Twenty-one students in grades 10 to 12 from Tioga, Bradford, Clarion and Indiana counties in Pennsylvania were joined by students from New York State for an introduction to the natural gas industry and possible career paths. Throughout the event, campers were introduced to many of the 150 occupations within the industry and the educational opportunities available in our area. They gained real world knowledge of a well site and had the opportunity to interact with faculty members from various educational institutions as well as industry professionals. … "We were excited to offer high school students the opportunity to explore different career options within the natural gas industry," Lindsey Sikorski said. (Sun-Gazette, 7/30/12)
· Shale Gas Helping to Drive “Economic Growth and Prosperity”: Cheap energy is vital to the manufacturing sector, lowering the overall cost of goods which increases consumption. That drives economic growth and prosperity, but it does so without government involvement, direction and stimulus. (Washington Times editorial, 7/27/12)
· Local University Training Next Generation of Natural Gas Leaders: The Tioga Co. Development Corp. celebrated 21 years of accomplishments with its 19th annual meeting at the university on Monday. … Featured was the [Mansfield] University's new Marcellus Institute, which was established in February to develop new academic programs focused on expanding the shale gas industry. Since then, the university has developed two degree programs in just a few months. (Sun-Gazette, 7/31/12)
· “Columbia Expects Abundant Supplies” of U.S. Natural Gas, Lower Consumer Prices: In announcing its average budget payment plan amount for 2012-13, the natural gas utility said it foresees abundant supplies of gas that should keep consumers' costs in check. The utility calculated the average monthly payment at $66 -- down $9 a month from last winter and among the lowest amounts of the last decade. … Columbia Gas said plentiful gas supplies have helped drive prices down by more than half in recent years. For example, the August, 2008, projected budget plan amount was $133 a month. (Toledo Blade, 7/31/12)
· “Columbia to Lower Price for Natural Gas”: Natural gas is plentiful and its price is low, which yesterday brought good news for Columbia Gas of Ohio customers. Columbia yesterday announced rates for its budget-billing customers. For the year starting in August, the average customer will pay $66 per month per household, down $9 from last year. It’s the lowest in more than five years. “We think it’s a really good thing for consumers,” said spokesman Ken Stammen. “Any time you can lower costs, it’s a good thing and a welcome thing.” … Gas prices are low because of the growing supply of energy from U.S.-based shale deposits, among other factors. (Columbus Dispatch, 7/31/12)
· “More Pa. Drivers Converting to Compressed Natural Gas”: O-Ring CNG Fuel Systems in Punxsutawney has been operating its compressed natural gas station for a year. Compressed natural gas is currently $2 a gallon at that station. Bob Beatty, the founder of the company, believes that using compressed natural gas will continue to become more popular. He predicts that in five years compressed natural gas will not exceed $2.25 a gallon. Beatty said that there is currently an abundance of natural gas, and he believes there is enough in Pennsylvania to last the next 150 years. For Beatty, he said business has been successful. Over the last year he has opened stations in Punxsutawney, Coolspring and Rimbersburg. His Punxsutawney station has about 85 customers. Another station is slated to open near Interstate 80 in Clarion County. (WJAC-TV, 7/31/12)
· “Columbia: Gas Bills Going Down for” Consumers: Columbia Gas of Ohio says its average budget payment plan for this year has gone down, and is among the lowest rates offered in the last decade. … The company states that abundant new supplies of natural gas have helped drive prices down by more than half in recent years. (WYTV, 7/30/12)
· More American Natural Gas = More Consumer Savings: Expanded shale gas production is “making it far less expensive for consumers to heat their homes during the winter and power their appliances throughout the year.” (Washington Times editorial, 7/27/12)
· “Shale ‘Revolution’ Is More Than Hyperbole for Capitol Hill”: Energy policy is being transfigured alongside the energy economy by technology advances that have allowed access to enormous reserves of natural gas. … It is hard to argue with the reality: The American Gas Association says reserves estimates have risen to 2,100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas as of the end of 2011, a century’s worth of supply. … Greater use of natural gas is a stated aim of the Blue Dog Coalition of self-declared fiscally conservative Democrats, and Democratic governors in Colorado and North Carolina have enthusiastically endorsed more natural gas development. (Roll Call op-ed, 7/31/12)
· Facts Must Prevail Over Scare Tactics: Opposition to fracking increasingly seems to be relying on scare tactics, with activists blithely repeating factoids they like with little effort to check the raw data or even the mainstream press. … They also have the same responsibility to check their facts. As with any industrial activity, hydraulic fracturing of shale should be done in an environmentally responsible fashion, and regulators should monitor emissions. But by making false claims, activists not only damage their own credibility, they distract from actual environmental issues that require amelioration. (U.S. News & World Report op-ed, 7/30/12)
· NY Daily News Columnist Highlights “Hypocrisy of The First Order”: A group of anti-fracking foodies threw an interesting fund-raiser at the Brooklyn Winery last week. … They call themselves Chefs for the Marcellus. Guests were treated to eggplant-stuffed okra, smoked lamb belly with fermented tofu and whipped ricotta jewel on toast — along with wines from the Finger Lakes and beers from Cooperstown’s Ommegang brewery. The only thing more delicious than the menu was the irony, because many if not most of those dishes were cooked over the bright blue flame of natural gas. That’s right, the Chefs for the Marcellus saw nothing wrong with using the very same fuel they portray as a dire threat to the upstate countryside. Plus, there’s all the electricity they needed to refrigerate the okra and air-condition the patrons who had paid $125 a pop. Most of those kilowatts, in New York City, were produced by gas-fired power plants. … But too many anti-frackers are trying to have it both ways — to completely ban the practice in their own backyard, while continuing to take enjoy the food-cooking, house-warming, juice-generating benefits of gas drilled elsewhere. (NY Daily News op-ed, 7/31/12)
· EPA - Once Again - Confirms Dimock’s Water Quality: EPA announced June 25 that extensive testing of Dimock wells revealed that “there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.” This confirms earlier EPA and Pennsylvania environmental officials’ tests, whose results were denied and decried by natural gas opponents. The silence from these activists on EPA’s latest announcement so far has been deafening. ( op-ed, 7/31/12)
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