Want To Know About Fracking

Consequences of Fracking

  • Oklahoma worries over swarm of earthquakes and connection to oil industry
    • For the most part, Oklahoma oil companies and their representatives have declined to engage in the public debate. When industry representatives have ventured forth, they have denied responsibility for the quakes. At a luncheon hosted by the Oklahoma City Geological Society last summer, Glen Brown, a Continental Resources geologist, blamed a worldwide surge in seismic activity that has nothing to do with wastewater disposal.
    • Damaging quakes in Oklahoma: a nice spatial analysis problem, for the interested mathematician! The conclusions so far: yep! It's the fracking….
  • Fracking's Methane Leakage To Be Focus of Many Studies This Year: The early years of the shale boom came with a widely held assumption that the vast quantities of natural gas liberated through high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, would help slow climate change by displacing coal-fired power plants and speeding the transition to a clean-energy future.
    • But that notion was seriously challenged as scientists began studying the life cycle of natural gas. Although natural-gas power plants emit fewer greenhouse gases than coal plants, the process of extracting, processing and transporting natural gas releases unknown amounts of methane into the air.
    • Because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, the shale boom's net impact on climate change remains unclear. That uncertainty has widened the rift between fracking supporters and opponents, and was cited as one of the reasons behind New York's recent fracking ban.
  • New Research Links Scores of Earthquakes to Fracking Wells Near a Fault in Ohio: Not long after two mild earthquakes jolted the normally steady terrain outside Youngstown, Ohio, last March, geologists quickly decided that hydraulic fracturing operations at new oil-and-gas wells in the area had set off the tremors.
    • Now a detailed study has concluded that the earthquakes were not isolated events, but merely the largest of scores of quakes that rattled the area around the wells for more than a week.
    • The number and intensity of fracking-related quakes have risen as the practice has boomed. In Oklahoma, for example, quakes have increased sharply in recent years, including the state’s largest ever, a magnitude 5.7 tremor, in 2011. Both state and federal experts have said fracking is contributing to the increase there, not only because of the fracking itself, but also because of the proliferation of related wells into which fracking waste is injected. Those injection wells receive much more waste, and are filled under high pressure more often, than oil or gas wells, and the sheer volume of pressurized liquids has been shown to widen cracks in faults, raising the chances of slippage and earthquakes.
  • Families flee out-of-control natural-gas leak at eastern Ohio fracking well
  • Fracking risk compared to thalidomide and asbestos in Walport report: Historic innovations that have been adopted too hastily with grave unforeseen impacts provide cautionary examples for potential side effects of fracking, says report by government’s chief scientist Mark Walport

Politics of Fracking

  • Wales Says No To Fracking Until ‘Proven Safe’: On Wednesday, the Welsh parliament voted in favor of a measure calling on the government to prevent fracking from taking place “until it is proven to be safe in both an environmental and public health context.” The vote comes just one week after Scotland announced a temporary fracking ban in order to allot time for a full public health assessment of the process.
  • Health, environmental groups seek fracking moratorium:Health and environmental advocates are seeking an eight-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in Maryland to allow more time for research on its risks.
  • Fracking ‘to be suspended in Scotland’: A MORATORIUM on fracking in Scotland has been imposed by the Scottish Government amid growing concerns over the environmental and health implications. Energy minister Fergus Ewing told MSPs yesterday that “no planning permission will granted” for fracking schemes to extract underground oil and gas while a series of government investigations are carried out to assess its effect. The moratorium in Scotland comes two days after David Cameron reaffirmed his commitment to fracking and MPs voted against a similar suspension of operations. The UK government grants licences but ministers in Scotland can withhold consent through the planning system.
  • Interior secretary criticizes fracking bans: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell criticized local and state bans on hydraulic fracturing, saying they create confusion for the oil and natural gas industries. (Oh, pity the poor industry! Someone stands up to them — or something, that being New York — and they get their undies in a bunch.)
  • New Brunswick introduces fracking moratorium: now Canadians are getting as smart as New Yorkers! At least those of New Brunswick. But wait, there's more! According to the report,
    • Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador have also passed moratoriums on fracking, though they vary in scope.
  • Citing Health Risks, Cuomo Bans Fracking in New York State: HUGE NEWS (Someone's finally figured out that this is a really stupid idea.)
    • On Wednesday, six weeks after Mr. Cuomo won a second term, the long-awaited health study finally materialized, its findings made public during a year-end cabinet meeting convened by the governor in Albany.
    • In a presentation at the cabinet meeting, the acting state health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, said the examination had found “significant public health risks” associated with fracking.
    • Holding up copies of scientific studies to animate his arguments, Dr. Zucker listed concerns about water contamination and air pollution, and said there was insufficient scientific evidence to affirm the safety of fracking.
    • Dr. Zucker said his review boiled down to a simple question: Would he want his family to live in a community where fracking was taking place?
    • His answer was no.
    • “We cannot afford to make a mistake,” he said. “The potential risks are too great. In fact, they are not even fully known.”….
    • “I am not a scientist,” {Cuomo} said. “I’m not an environmental expert. I’m not a health expert. I’m a lawyer. I’m not a doctor. I’m not an environmentalist. I’m not a scientist. So let’s bring the emotion down, and let’s ask the qualified experts what their opinion is.”
    • Nevertheless, environmental groups cast the governor as a hero. Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, said, “This move puts significant pressure on other governors to take similar measures to protect people who live in their states.”

Economic Impact


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