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Groundwater Fouled by Fracking

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posted on May, 9 2012 @ 08:50 AM
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Clean-burning natural gas may not be all it is fracked-up to be.

Groundwater in the eastern United States could be contaminated by the natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, after a decade or less, far less time than the thousands of years proponents of the mining technique claim.


The Marcellus shale, a rock formation running from New York to Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio and Virginia, contains large amounts of natural gas and is located close to the energy hungry East Coast. To release the gas engineers have to shatter the rock with millions of gallons of high pressure water, sand and toxic chemicals like benzene.

In a controversial computer simulation, however, hydrologist Tom Myers suggested that the rock is more permeable than earlier studies predated and that, once fractured, the rock allows the toxic fracking liquid to percolate upwards.



source

The article goes on to mention that fracking causes earthquakes and that more study is needed.

So, if I understand correctly, fracking is polluting the groundwater and causing earthquakes. How long until we start to see cancers and other problems associated with the contaminated groundwater?


edit on 9-5-2012 by smyleegrl because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 9 2012 @ 09:32 AM
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Your source is a non-scientist quoting other sources for his "opinion"

There is no basis in the article you site as a source, and the links in the source have already been debated here on ATS.

The first link in your SOURCE is regarding "A small town..." -- this case was never concluded that Fracking had anything to do with the contamination.

LINK

Your second link discusses Earthquakes. While this may be the case, in this ONE instance, it was caused by the millions of gallons of water hitting the fault line at high pressure. Again, of the THOUSANDS of wells in gas industry, ONE caused a small earthquake. Lesson learned...move on.

It is sickening how so many people will condemn something like fracking without knowing what they are talking about, when we are in a position to completely eliminate the need for foreign oil.



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 09:55 AM
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Originally posted by phantomjack
Your source is a non-scientist quoting other sources for his "opinion"

There is no basis in the article you site as a source, and the links in the source have already been debated here on ATS.

The first link in your SOURCE is regarding "A small town..." -- this case was never concluded that Fracking had anything to do with the contamination.

LINK

Your second link discusses Earthquakes. While this may be the case, in this ONE instance, it was caused by the millions of gallons of water hitting the fault line at high pressure. Again, of the THOUSANDS of wells in gas industry, ONE caused a small earthquake. Lesson learned...move on.

It is sickening how so many people will condemn something like fracking without knowing what they are talking about, when we are in a position to completely eliminate the need for foreign oil.





Thank you for the reply. You are right, my sources are kinda weak. That's one of the reasons I love ATS so much, there's always someone who can point out the flaws in your research or thinking or argument. Thank you for doing so.

I'm just starting to learn about fracking, but here are a few more articles I've read since posting the article above.




If fracking is defined as a single fracture of deep shale, that action might be benign. When multiple “fracks” are done in multiple, adjacent wells, however, the risk for contaminating drinking water may rise. If fracking is defined as the entire industrial operation, including drilling and the storage of wastewater, contamination has already been found.


scientific american journal

That is just the brief description of the article, but it seems to indicate contamination is a problem. Now understanding what is causing the contamination is still contested, as the article below indicates:




The report, released here at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (which publishes ScienceNOW), doesn't give this form of natural gas extraction a clean bill of health. Rather, it suggests that problems aren't directly caused by fracking, a process in which water, sand, and chemicals are pumped into wells to break up deep layers of shale and release natural gas. Instead, the report concludes, contamination tends to happen closer to the surface when gas and drilling fluid escapes from poorly lined wells or storage ponds.

source

So this source suggests its not the process of fracking causing the contamination, but leaks from poorly lined wells. Still a problem that needs to be addressed, but one I imagine would be simpler to control.



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 10:23 AM
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err i think this link says otherwise



For the first time, a government study has tied contamination in drinking water to an advanced drilling technique commonly known as "fracking." The Environmental Protection Agency released a draft study Thursday tying the technique, formally called hydraulic fracturing, to high levels of chemicals found in ground water in the small town of Pavillion, Wyo. EPA scientists found high levels of benzene, a known carcinogen, and synthetic glycol and alcohol, commonly found in hydraulic fracturing fluid.


Link

and another story
www.propublica.org...



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by phantomjack
Your source is a non-scientist quoting other sources for his "opinion"

There is no basis in the article you site as a source, and the links in the source have already been debated here on ATS.

The first link in your SOURCE is regarding "A small town..." -- this case was never concluded that Fracking had anything to do with the contamination.

LINK

Your second link discusses Earthquakes. While this may be the case, in this ONE instance, it was caused by the millions of gallons of water hitting the fault line at high pressure. Again, of the THOUSANDS of wells in gas industry, ONE caused a small earthquake. Lesson learned...move on.

It is sickening how so many people will condemn something like fracking without knowing what they are talking about, when we are in a position to completely eliminate the need for foreign oil.





Ok, so fracking is not a problem? I guess your right until your water is contaminated. I know how industry works and it looks great on paper but inreality and the application is often different. And the links between earthquakes is well established.

www.cbc.ca...

www.motherjones.com...

stateimpact.npr.org...


or this about the dangers of fracking and ground water.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

www.iwapublishing.com...



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 10:29 AM
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It's not a bug, it's a feature. Now you can heat your home too!




posted on May, 9 2012 @ 10:39 AM
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Originally posted by phantomjack

It is sickening how so many people will condemn something like fracking without knowing what they are talking about, when we are in a position to completely eliminate the need for foreign oil.



Energy independence yes, but at what cost? While I agree that natural gas will, more than likely, be the intermediate fuel utilized by the U.S. to transition away from fossil fuels altogether, to sacrifice our clean water in the process would be no less than insane.

Furthermore, are you implying that everyone who opposes hydraulic fracking doesn't know what they're talking about but somehow you, by virtue of your support of the process, does?

Call me stupid, but I thought that the whole reason behind running the EPA studies was to produce the empirical evidence that neither side current has and to date, the results of those studies are not looking good for the fracking industry.

Right now, I have to lean towards agreement with the OP in the opinion that hydraulic fracking is indeed polluting our groundwater. There is further evidence that other parts of the natural gas capturing process is also polluting our air as well via gas releases from above ground storage tanks.

articles.latimes.com...

Air pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing, a controversial oil and gas drilling method, may contribute to “acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites,” according to a new study from the Colorado School of Public Health.

The study, based on three years of monitoring at Colorado sites, found a number of “potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near the wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene.” The Environmental Protection Agency has identified benzene as a known carcinogen.


You do know that there are ways to extract natural gas that are much safer than hydraulic fracturing, it's just that this method happens to be the most profitable for the oil & gas producers, which explains their staunch defense of the process.

I for one, am not willing to sacrifice our sons and daughters in foreign wars or our clean air & water for cheap fuel. Furthermore, I'm convinced that once people wake up and realize what the real cost of fossil fuels are, the transition to clean energy and renewables will be a no-brainer.

To the OP, F&S



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 11:48 AM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 



In addition to these added chemicals, naturally occurring toxicants such as heavy metals, volatile organics, and radioactive compounds are mobilized during gas extraction and return to the surface with the gas/chemical mix (wastewater); of the 5.5 million gallons of water, on average, used to hydraulically fracture a shale gas well one time [2], less than 30 percent to more than 70 percent may remain underground [3]. Hydraulic fracturing takes place over 2 to 5 days and may be repeated multiple times on the same well over the course of the potential 25- to 40-year lifetime of a well [4]. Many of these chemicals are toxic and have known adverse health effects, which may be apparent only in the long term. A discussion of these compounds and their health effects is beyond the scope of this article; however, Colborn et al. [5] have analyzed this topic in depth.

...

Environmental groups typically invoke the precautionary principle [6]. That is, if an action is suspected of causing harm to the environment, then in the absence of a scientific consensus, the burden of proof falls on the individual or organization taking the action. The oil and gas industry has typically rejected this analysis and has approached the issue in a manner similar to the tobacco industry that for many years rejected the link between smoking and cancer. That is, if one cannot prove beyond a shadow of doubt that an environmental impact is due to drilling, then a link is rejected. This approach by the tobacco companies had a devastating and long-lasting effect on public health from which we have still not recovered [7], and we believe that a similar approach to the impacts of gas drilling may have equally negative consequences.

...

More than one-third of the cases involved conventional wells (shallow or deep vertical wells), with the remainder comprising horizontal wells subjected to high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Because of the scale of the horizontal well drilling operations, such wells were more commonly associated with animal health problems.

...

Documentation of cases in six states strongly implicates exposure to gas drilling operations in serious health effects on humans, companion animals, livestock, horses, and wildlife.


IMPACTS OF GAS DRILLING ON HUMAN AND ANIMAL HEALTH(direct PDF link)

While the above mentioned study does not prove a direct correlation to groundwater contamination, it does go a long way toward proving a direct causation of ill health effects from drilling processes and chemicals.



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 12:08 PM
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THOSE MOTHERFRACKERS! These corporate BASTARDS won't stop till they've killed the last of us and destroyed the planet!



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 12:12 PM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Here is a thing to ponder.

If the gas well and fracking is taking place at a depth of 5K feet -- which is the average depth of a gas well -- how is it that a drinking well, at an average of 150 feet, is effected?

Water flows with gravity -- which is DOWN, not UP.

In addition to that, the earth has a natural cleansing/filtering process that around 100 feet of soil is needed to cleanse contaminants from the water flowing through it. SOURCE

So if one wants to blame the well water contamination on the casing of the well, that is fine. I would insist that this would be a rare occurrence and would be subject to quality control methods. But to insist that the contamination is from chemicals used at a depth of 5K feet is just not realistic to me.




posted on May, 9 2012 @ 12:16 PM
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Originally posted by Flatfish

Originally posted by phantomjack

It is sickening how so many people will condemn something like fracking without knowing what they are talking about, when we are in a position to completely eliminate the need for foreign oil.



Energy independence yes, but at what cost? While I agree that natural gas will, more than likely, be the intermediate fuel utilized by the U.S. to transition away from fossil fuels altogether, to sacrifice our clean water in the process would be no less than insane.

Furthermore, are you implying that everyone who opposes hydraulic fracking doesn't know what they're talking about but somehow you, by virtue of your support of the process, does?

Call me stupid, but I thought that the whole reason behind running the EPA studies was to produce the empirical evidence that neither side current has and to date, the results of those studies are not looking good for the fracking industry.

Right now, I have to lean towards agreement with the OP in the opinion that hydraulic fracking is indeed polluting our groundwater. There is further evidence that other parts of the natural gas capturing process is also polluting our air as well via gas releases from above ground storage tanks.

articles.latimes.com...

Air pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing, a controversial oil and gas drilling method, may contribute to “acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites,” according to a new study from the Colorado School of Public Health.

The study, based on three years of monitoring at Colorado sites, found a number of “potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near the wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene.” The Environmental Protection Agency has identified benzene as a known carcinogen.


You do know that there are ways to extract natural gas that are much safer than hydraulic fracturing, it's just that this method happens to be the most profitable for the oil & gas producers, which explains their staunch defense of the process.

I for one, am not willing to sacrifice our sons and daughters in foreign wars or our clean air & water for cheap fuel. Furthermore, I'm convinced that once people wake up and realize what the real cost of fossil fuels are, the transition to clean energy and renewables will be a no-brainer.

To the OP, F&S



At what cost, you ask?

Well, consider that we may soon have our hands tied when gasoline prices soar this summer. Are you willing to pay $10 per gallon of gas? Or better, can you AFFORD to pay that much?

I can tell you that if this happens, our economy, already on the ropes, will be knocked out cold.

So at what cost?

My answer: At any cost. The lives that will be lost in a crumbled economy is far more than a handful of people who MAY or MAY NOT be getting sick due to fracking.

So until we definitively find fracking to be hazardous, and I might add 40 years of fracking in Texas has resulted in NO ill effects on the population, we need to embrace this technology for what it offers the USA in the future.

Many believe that Fracking is new. Its been used in Texas for over 40 years!



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 12:43 PM
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Originally posted by phantomjack

At what cost, you ask?

Well, consider that we may soon have our hands tied when gasoline prices soar this summer. Are you willing to pay $10 per gallon of gas? Or better, can you AFFORD to pay that much?

I can tell you that if this happens, our economy, already on the ropes, will be knocked out cold.

So at what cost?

My answer: At any cost. The lives that will be lost in a crumbled economy is far more than a handful of people who MAY or MAY NOT be getting sick due to fracking.

So until we definitively find fracking to be hazardous, and I might add 40 years of fracking in Texas has resulted in NO ill effects on the population, we need to embrace this technology for what it offers the USA in the future.

Many believe that Fracking is new. Its been used in Texas for over 40 years!


What are we really paying for a gallon of gas here in the U.S.A. right now? When you take into account the money and lives we're expending to protect our oil interest overseas, we're already spending more than $10.00 per gallon for gas now. On top of that, we're sacrificing the lives of our sons and daughters in foreign wars so that we can enjoy cheap gas here at home. What a joke!

Our economy would do far better if we were to spend that money developing alternative fuels and methods of transportation here at home as opposed to spending it on military ventures designed to dominate the natural resources of foreign nations.

Furthermore, just because fracking has been taking place here in Texas for over 40 yrs. doesn't mean that there have been "NO" ill health effects caused by it's use. Nuclear energy has been around for over half a century too, but that doesn't mean that there have been no ill health effects attributed to it's use. I mean really, unless you already have some empirical evidence to back up that claim then it's a pretty ignorant position to take.



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by phantomjack
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Here is a thing to ponder.

If the gas well and fracking is taking place at a depth of 5K feet -- which is the average depth of a gas well -- how is it that a drinking well, at an average of 150 feet, is effected?

Water flows with gravity -- which is DOWN, not UP.

In addition to that, the earth has a natural cleansing/filtering process that around 100 feet of soil is needed to cleanse contaminants from the water flowing through it. SOURCE

So if one wants to blame the well water contamination on the casing of the well, that is fine. I would insist that this would be a rare occurrence and would be subject to quality control methods. But to insist that the contamination is from chemicals used at a depth of 5K feet is just not realistic to me.



It seems you've already researched fracking. Since I've just started, I know I'm on shaky ground and my only sources so far have been from the internet. Do you have sources you've used that you find credible? Could you perhaps point me in a certain direction? I am not asking you to do my research, but if you've found something very convincing, I would like to read it.
Star for you for presenting your viewpoint in a calm and adult manner.



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 02:00 PM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Wikipedia is as good a place as any to start learning the "official" version of the hydraulic fracturing process but there are plenty of other sources out there as well, just google it.

On the other hand, if you're interested in seeing the unofficial version of the process and some of it's effects on people and the environment, then I would suggest finding a place to view the amateur documentary entitled "Gasland." Here's the extended trailer from utube:



Anyway, good hunting.



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 03:20 PM
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Originally posted by Flatfish

Originally posted by phantomjack

At what cost, you ask?

Well, consider that we may soon have our hands tied when gasoline prices soar this summer. Are you willing to pay $10 per gallon of gas? Or better, can you AFFORD to pay that much?

I can tell you that if this happens, our economy, already on the ropes, will be knocked out cold.

So at what cost?

My answer: At any cost. The lives that will be lost in a crumbled economy is far more than a handful of people who MAY or MAY NOT be getting sick due to fracking.

So until we definitively find fracking to be hazardous, and I might add 40 years of fracking in Texas has resulted in NO ill effects on the population, we need to embrace this technology for what it offers the USA in the future.

Many believe that Fracking is new. Its been used in Texas for over 40 years!


What are we really paying for a gallon of gas here in the U.S.A. right now? When you take into account the money and lives we're expending to protect our oil interest overseas, we're already spending more than $10.00 per gallon for gas now. On top of that, we're sacrificing the lives of our sons and daughters in foreign wars so that we can enjoy cheap gas here at home. What a joke!

Our economy would do far better if we were to spend that money developing alternative fuels and methods of transportation here at home as opposed to spending it on military ventures designed to dominate the natural resources of foreign nations.

Furthermore, just because fracking has been taking place here in Texas for over 40 yrs. doesn't mean that there have been "NO" ill health effects caused by it's use. Nuclear energy has been around for over half a century too, but that doesn't mean that there have been no ill health effects attributed to it's use. I mean really, unless you already have some empirical evidence to back up that claim then it's a pretty ignorant position to take.


Ok, so inadvertently, you just made my point for me: the cost of human lives overseas for the purpose of keeping the cost of oil down.

Not sure if you were aware that you made that statement and what it means.

But I stress, that NO technology is ever 100% safe...

The same empirical evidence that I may lack, is the same empirical evidence that you lack as well to prove me otherwise wrong.

So until you can tell me that a slice of bread will kill me or not, there is no reason why I should not eat that slice of bread.



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 03:25 PM
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Originally posted by smyleegrl

Originally posted by phantomjack
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Here is a thing to ponder.

If the gas well and fracking is taking place at a depth of 5K feet -- which is the average depth of a gas well -- how is it that a drinking well, at an average of 150 feet, is effected?

Water flows with gravity -- which is DOWN, not UP.

In addition to that, the earth has a natural cleansing/filtering process that around 100 feet of soil is needed to cleanse contaminants from the water flowing through it. SOURCE

So if one wants to blame the well water contamination on the casing of the well, that is fine. I would insist that this would be a rare occurrence and would be subject to quality control methods. But to insist that the contamination is from chemicals used at a depth of 5K feet is just not realistic to me.



It seems you've already researched fracking. Since I've just started, I know I'm on shaky ground and my only sources so far have been from the internet. Do you have sources you've used that you find credible? Could you perhaps point me in a certain direction? I am not asking you to do my research, but if you've found something very convincing, I would like to read it.
Star for you for presenting your viewpoint in a calm and adult manner.


No. I am a land owner in Western Pennsylvania, with a gas drilling lease. I VOLUNTEERED to let the gas company DRILL on my property. Why? Because, it netted me a lot more money.

But, we have here a lot of people who do NOT have property, or rather, no horse in the race. Much of the fracking issue is being used to suppress the gas drilling industry out of jealousy and greed. The have nots are trying any method to block the haves from getting rich off of the gas leases.

And, of the 1500+ well sites here in my 50 mile radius, you hear nothing of people dying off from polluted water. In fact, you here NOTHING of it.

So far, only one well in PA is under scrutiny -- that well is on the eastern side of the state. And, nationwide, I only know of a few cases that have been brought to light...one of which is in Wyoming -- and was later proven to be unrelated to fracking.

So where is the problem?

It doesn't exist...just like man made "global warming" doesnt exist. It was created to rob the people.



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 04:23 PM
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reply to post by Flatfish
 


how does the fracking process a mile deep into the earth effect ground water at even a depth of 300 ft.

we are all being sold a bill of goods none of us understand.

The money maker Bottled water....laugh if you want but think very big on this one.

tell me something, why do I have to search long and hard to find a youtube video with exploding tap water. With all the tree hugger agencies in place it should be all over the evening news, The Gulf Oil Crisis was.

you claim to be educated,,research Edward Bernays
keep bottling water though..the price of a once running free resource is the next Blue Gold.
edit on 9-5-2012 by rebellender because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 05:13 PM
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Originally posted by AnonymousCitizen
It's not a bug, it's a feature. Now you can heat your home too!



This video is often used to promote the ills of fracking, when in fact, this video was proven to be manufactured -- a hoax. SOURCE

The flames were caused by a naturally occurring source of methane, nothing to do with the fracking process in the area.



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 06:54 PM
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Originally posted by phantomjack

Ok, so inadvertently, you just made my point for me: the cost of human lives overseas for the purpose of keeping the cost of oil down.

Not sure if you were aware that you made that statement and what it means.

But I stress, that NO technology is ever 100% safe...

The same empirical evidence that I may lack, is the same empirical evidence that you lack as well to prove me otherwise wrong.

So until you can tell me that a slice of bread will kill me or not, there is no reason why I should not eat that slice of bread.


We are not expending lives overseas in order to keep the price of oil down, but rather to keep from paying the true price at the pump. It's nothing more than a way in which to disguise the real price as something more affordable thereby making it easier to keep us hooked on oil. On top of that, there are a lot of working people here in America who don't even own or drive an automobile yet their tax dollars are, in essence, helping to subsidize the price of oil for the rest of us, as they too pay their fair share towards defense. (Like all the money spent defending us from Iraq)

This strategy of hiding the true cost of gasoline is exactly what makes alternative forms of energy appear to be cost prohibitive, when in fact they are not. This is exactly why we still drive the largest automobiles with the poorest mileage on the planet right here in the U.S.A.

Oil and gas are finite fuels and sooner or later we have to start developing alternative fuels and modes of transportation and if paying the "real" price at the pump instead of subsidizing it through the defense budget would help get us started, then I'm all for it. Same goes for paying a little more for natural gas that's extracted without injecting carcinogens into the ground under high pressure in order to maximize profits, when safer methods exist.



posted on May, 10 2012 @ 07:20 AM
link   

Originally posted by rebellender
reply to post by Flatfish
 


how does the fracking process a mile deep into the earth effect ground water at even a depth of 300 ft.

we are all being sold a bill of goods none of us understand.

The money maker Bottled water....laugh if you want but think very big on this one.

tell me something, why do I have to search long and hard to find a youtube video with exploding tap water. With all the tree hugger agencies in place it should be all over the evening news, The Gulf Oil Crisis was.

you claim to be educated,,research Edward Bernays
keep bottling water though..the price of a once running free resource is the next Blue Gold.
edit on 9-5-2012 by rebellender because: (no reason given)


Once the hydraulic fracturing process has been completed, the natural gas begins to flow upwards pushing the fracking fluids back out of the well. At this point, the fluids are re-captured and disposed of on the surface which in many cases leads to the contamination ground and surface water. Here in Texas, they utilized old abandoned wells for storage of these fluids and only time will tell if this method has it's own set of hazards.




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