Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fracking: How risky for us?

Fracking might taint groundwater and pollute the air. California has two additional worries: water consumed and the potential for earthquakes. - LA Times

In a state as environmentally aware as California, it's alarming how little state government has done to learn about or oversee the practice. Two years ago, the state's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources admitted in a letter that it was "unable to identify" where and how often hydraulic fracturing occurs, how much fresh water is being used for it — though it estimated about 70,000 barrels per well — whether it is being carried out safely or what chemicals are being used.

There have been ongoing concerns in other parts of the country that fracking might taint groundwater and pollute the air. California has two additional worries: how much of the state's scarce water supplies can be spared for fracking, and the potential for earthquakes. The fracturing itself is believed to create little if any seismic danger, but the disposal of the wastewater by injecting it into other wells has been fingered in scientific journals and by the U.S. government as the probable source of earthquakes in areas such as Oklahoma that aren't quake-prone.

California Dems push anti-fracking bills, aim to curb potential oil bonanza - FOX

California is on the verge of a new gold rush. Expanded hydraulic fracturing -- or "fracking" -- at the Monterey Shale formation is sparking estimates that 15 billion barrels of oil could be accessed, along with millions of jobs and huge contributions to the domestic energy supply.

Even the state's green-friendly Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, says "the potential is extraordinary."

But standing in the way is a flurry of anti-fracking bills. At last count, 10 were on the table, all introduced by Democrats seeking tighter controls over the controversial technology.