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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What The Frack?

Jan 10th, 2012

As evidence continues to mount linking "fracking" to seismic instability and new earthquake activity, Scott Thill goes off:

"To what should be the surprise of no one, earthquakes caused by the junkie gas sector's hydraulic fracturing process, known as fracking, have been cropping up like Freud's repressed. The latest ominously arrived in Republican-dominated Ohio on New Year's Eve, quickly prompting Youngstown's mayor to buy earthquake insurance and lament, "You lose your whole house, that's your life savings, and if you have no money or no insurance to replace it, then what do you do?"

That's easy, Mayor Charles P. Sammarone, and anyone else finally learning these hard lessons: You stop fracking, which is to say you stop messing with the geological integrity of your cities, and their water tables. If you're Ohio, then you stop givingGOP industry stooges like Speaker of the House John Boehner and Governor John Kasich access to your precious natural resources. If you're the rest of the world, you accept that you have a serious problem with fossil fuel consumption, detach your complicity and support, and start planning for a future in which deregulated shale gas extraction, and its frackquake-causing disposal wells, are a desperate cry for psychoanalysis rather than an acceptable peak oil market."

Christopher Helman dismisses these concerns:

"After a handful of earthquakes in Mahoning County, most recently on New Year’s Eve, Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources shut down five deep wells used by natural gas drillers to dispose of chemical-laden gunk recovered from natural gas fracking operations. The quakes, biggest of which measured 4 on the Richter scale, coincided with injections into the wells, pretty much ruling out coincidence.

The Oklahoma Geological Survey has found a 10-fold increase in quakes there in recent years (including three magnitude 5s in early November), but has stopped short of blaming them on a rampant increase in gas drilling. A year ago Arkansas declared a moratorium on deep injection wells after a flurry of earth-shaking there (even though similar quake swarms have occurred there in the past). Even in England, the drilling company Cuadrilla Resources says its activities probably caused a couple quakes, but they were less than 2 on the Richter, about as rough as a truck driving down your street."

What is abundantly clear is that "fracking" is a very dirty business and is a terrible threat to groundwater systems throughout the country. 

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