Fracking Nuts

A former ExxonMobil Executive V.P. turned community do-gooder, Louis W. Allstadt, discussed the very real dangers of hydraulic fracking in a recent interview, and one of the takeaways was his point about the release of methane gas into the atmosphere-

The industry will tell you that the mile or two between the zone that’s being fracked is not going to let anything come up.

But there are already cases where the methane gas has made it up into the aquifers and atmosphere. Sometimes through old well bores, sometimes through natural fissures in the rock. What we don’t know is just how much gas is going to come up over time. It’s a point most people haven’t gotten. It’s not just what’s happening today. We’re opening up channels for the gas to creep up to the surface and into the atmosphere. And methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas in the short term – less than 100 years – than carbon dioxide.

And according Mother Jones, not only does fracking cause earthquakes, but earthquakes happening around the world are causing earthquakes in areas where fracking fluids have been injected underground.

Major earthquakes thousands of miles away can trigger reflex quakes in areas where fluids have been injected into the ground from fracking and other industrial operations, according to a study published in the journal Science on Thursday.

Previous studies, covered in a recent Mother Jones feature from Michael Behar, have shown that injecting fluids into the ground can increase the seismicity of a region. This latest study shows that earthquakes can tip off smaller quakes in far-away areas where fluid has been pumped underground.

Helpful animation:

how fracking causes earthquakes

So, let’s see. Fracking causes earthquakes, and now the earthquakes are causing more earthquakes. Fracking is also responsible for releasing harmful greenhouses gases, like methane, into the atmosphere. It poisons well water and ground soil, thereby contaminating the food supply and will very likely dig up the dinosaurs and kill them all over again.

Why are we doing this, exactly?

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  • blackdaug

    A couple of years back, I was watching a college football game one night on ESPN.
    The game, which was taking place in a town about 200 miles away from me, had ended, and one of the color guys was sitting up in the booth at the stadium, doing a post mortum, when a strange look came over his face:
    “Guys” he said as his eyes grew wide ” I think we are having an earthquake here!”
    At almost the precise moment he said that, in my living room 200 miles away, a breeze swept through….or at least that was my first thought…. when everything on my walls started moving…and kept moving..for about a minute. It was about a 5.8.
    Turns out, the stadium and booth he was broadcasting from, were only a few miles from a place where a few hundred fracking wells were being drilled.
    …..and this place is about as far from “earthquake” country as you can get.
    When these wells and their little quakes, inadvertently wake up the New Madrid Zone..things could get pretty spooky…..like when the Mississippi decides to re-route itself over a few million people without much warning.
    ..Not to mention the tons of methane in the atmosphere and the light able tap water.

  • Ipecac

    When I used to watch Star Trek, original series, an episode would occasionally deal with a civilization that had died. The people had either killed themselves somehow or met with some natural disaster. I always thought that was interesting but not relevant to us because that wouldn’t happen to us.

    For the first time in my life, given the events of the past decade, I’m not so sure.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Why are we doing this, exactly?

    Because there’s millions and millions of dollars to be made. Duh. Fracking is the new gold rush. The “public good” will never be able to compete with corporate profits.