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Josh Fox, Director of Gasland, on the Lies of Hydrofracking

Jacob Gordon, Treehugger Radio
For Josh Fox, it started in 2008 when a company offered $100,000 to lease his family’s Pennsylvania property for natural gas extraction. Back then, nearly no one knew what hydrofracking was. Now, the extraction method known as fracking is at the center of a roiling battle between fossil fuel companies, bureaucrats, activists, and land owners who are complaining of effects ranging from flaming tap water to terminal illnesses.
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(8 December 2011)

What the Frack?

Chris Nelder, Slate
The recent press about the potential of shale gas would have you believe that America is now sitting on a 100-year supply of natural gas. It’s a “game-changer.” A “golden age of gas” awaits, one in which the United States will be energy independent, even exporting gas to the rest of the world, upending our current energy-importing situation.

The data, however, tell a very different story. Between the demonstrable gas reserves, and the potential resources blared in the headlines, lies an enormous gulf of uncertainty.

The claim of a 100-year supply originated with a report released in April 2011 by the Potential Gas Committee, an organization of petroleum engineers and geoscientists. President and Chairman Larry Gring works with Third Day Energy LLC, a company based in Austin, Texas, that is engaged in acquiring and exploiting oil and gas properties along the Texas Gulf Coast.* Chairman of the Board Darrell Pierce is a vice president of DCP Midstream LLC, a natural-gas production, processing, and marketing company based in Denver. The report’s contributors are from the industry-supported Colorado School of Mines. In short, the Potential Gas Committee report is not an impartial assessment of resources.

Its website consists of a single press release announcing the April report, with a link to a brief summary slide deck. A more detailed slide deck issued by the committee presents some optimistic estimates of potential resources, including a “future gas supply” estimate of 2,170 trillion cubic feet (tcf). At the 2010 rate of American consumption—about 24 tcf per year—that would be a 95-year supply of gas, which apparently has been rounded up to 100 years.

But what is that estimate based upon?..
(29 December 2011)

Ohio earthquake was not a natural event, expert says

Kim Palmer, Reuters
A 4.0 magnitude earthquake in Ohio on New Year’s Eve did not occur naturally and may have been caused by high-pressure liquid injection related to oil and gas exploration and production, an expert hired by the state of Ohio said on Tuesday.

Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources on Sunday suspended operations at five deep well sites in Youngstown, Ohio, where the injection of water was taking place, while they evaluate seismological data from a rare quake in the area.

The wells are about 9,000 feet deep and are used to dispose of water from oil and gas wells. The process is related to fracking, the controversial injection of chemical-laced water and sand into rock to release oil and gas. Critics say that the high pressure injection of the liquid causes seismic activity.

Won-Young Kim, a research professor of Seismology Geology and Tectonophysics at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that circumstantial evidence suggests a link between the earthquake and the high-pressure well activity…
(3 January 2012)

Ohio Quake Spurs Action on 5 Wells, Won’t Stop Oil and Gas Work

Mark Niquette, Bloomberg
A New Year’s Eve earthquake in Youngstown, Ohio, that prompted the state to stop or delay operations at five wells for disposing of wastewater from oil and natural-gas extraction won’t affect production.

State Representative Robert F. Hagan, a Democrat who represents Youngstown, is calling for a moratorium on all hydraulic fracturing and injection-well activity “until we can conclude it’s safe.” The wastewater is a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, used to unlock fossil fuel deposits.

Governor John Kasich and the Ohio (STOOH1) Department of Natural Resources consider the earthquake and others like it to be isolated occurrences and will continue using the state’s other 177 disposal wells without interrupting shale-gas development that may produce thousands of jobs, said Rob Nichols, a spokesman for Kasich.

“We are not going to stand by and let someone drive a stake through the heart of what could be an economic revival in Eastern Ohio,” Nichols said yesterday in a telephone interview…
(4 January 2011)

Fracking Rules Show Obama on ‘Wrong Track,’ Oil Group Says

Katarzyna Klimasinska, Bloomberg
President Barack Obama’s energy policy is on the “wrong track” by promoting natural gas while drafting restrictions on the hydraulic fracturing process that produces the fuel, the biggest energy industry group said.

“We are on the wrong track,” Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, the largest energy trade group in Washington, said in remarks prepared for a speech today. “We see it in an incoherent approach to natural gas development: lauding it’s obvious benefits while ratcheting up pressure for new layers of duplicative regulations that could stop energy development dead in its tracks.”
(14 January 2012)