Officials are reporting the deaths of 19 head of cattle near a Chesapeake drilling site in Louisiana. An "unidentified substance" flowed from the drill site into a nearby pasture. Authorities believe the cows ingested the mysterious fluid before dying as there were tracks leading to and from the puddles. This mysterious substance is likely "frac fluid" or a combination of water, sand and other chemicals used in the natural gas drilling process. Drilling companies do not have to release information on exactly what chemicals are used because they claim the formula is proprietary (kind of like the recipe for Coca-Cola) and the release of such information would hurt their competitive advantage. Witnesses say the substance was milky-white. A source tells me he's seen a similar-looking substance near well sites in Arkansas.
The Shreveport Times reports Chesapeake and its fracing contractor have denied knowledge of a chemical spill and “nobody is owning up to it.” Animal rights groups and others could use this event to try to force companies to disclose the components of their frac fluids. Visit Shale Watch for links and other info.