Tuesday, 17 April 2012


Fracking is back in the news after the Government has been advised to allow it to be extended across Britain, despite it causing two earthquakes the first time it was tried here.
Apart from creating earthquakes, i know very little about fracking apart from it involving drilling a well and pumping it full of chemicals in order to release the gas held in the rocks, but as it has been going on a long time in America, we should probably look there to see how it is working out.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that fracking may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution and Health officials have advised residents in Wyoming not to drink the water in areas where fracking is ongoing after they found low levels of hydrocarbons used in the fracking process in their water supply. The fracking also caused ground-level ozone pollution affecting the quality of life for Wyoming residents.
How about in Pennsylvania, another state where fracking is popular, any problems there? Ah, regulators ordered a cease to all fracking in Susquehanna County and advised residents to avoid drinking the water after chemicals used in fracking entered the water supply.
In New York, regulators have refused to issue fracking permits to protect water supplies while the French and Bulgarians have banned fracking altogether. President Sarkozy said: 'This won’t be done until it has been shown that technologies used for development respect the environment, the complex nature of soil and water networks'.
Not looking good for fracking is it and i would say as a general rule of thumb is that any human activity that causes earthquakes and poisons the water supply is not to be encouraged.
Ooops, too late, the UK Government has already issued the licenses to fracking companies.
I wonder if all those people who spent time and energy objecting to ugly wind turbines spoiling their views in their area are happy now with this alternative. Enjoy.


Cheezy said...

Come now, surely these big energy companies wouldn't recklessly endanger the environment in the headlong rush to make a buck, would they?

Anonymous said...

i knew this was coming as it has been a topic in the usa for 2 or 3 years.

it just so happens that i backpack with the man known as "Mr. Frac". i am not joking or lying. he lives in dallas but travels from canada to south texas from california to pennsylvania teaching companies how to frac the right way. it seems that a big factor in water tables being polluted is incorrect well casing. if done wrong the chemicals can leak (the primary chemicals are sand and water but many make the sand sound nefarious by calling it a proppant (evil)).

There are thousands of wells in the usa now using fracking but the only ones that make the news are the handful where it is a big mess like natural gas getting into the water supply. When it is bad it isn’t catastrophic, but it is bad.

Concerning the earthquakes. There is a correlation, but it not yet proven to be causal. One thing worth noting, there are 4 kinds of earthquakes: The ones we don’t feel. The ones we feel but ignored because there were no oil rigs. The ones we feel but now acknowledge because there are oil rigs. The ones that do damage. Only a handful have done some damage (no big damage), but they are the ones that make the news and the ones the environmentalists talk about. Any others are ignored or viewed as the launching pad for the greatest earthquake of all time (seems environmentalists have big imaginations and are driven by fear).

Cheesy it isn’t just the oil companies that benefit. I know 4 families in south texas where I kill lots of innocent animals (no elephants yet, somebody must of killed all the wild ones in texas...) that have eked out a living farming and ranching. until recently. They hit oil and they have gone from poor dirt farmers to retired. Good for them. In addition, the small towns (kennedy, karnes city, Nixon, smilely, Gonzales, many more) have been gradually dying for 30 years but now they are growing. It may not last long but many people besides the big oil companies are prospering.


ps - nog, do yawl have mineral rights, cuase you are dead center of oil country?

Lucy said...

I haved every faith in the big energy companies to look after the environment Cheezy. Oops, looks like i missed a 'not' in that sentence somewhere.

I don't know much about it q apart from the couple of earthquakes in Blackpool that were attributed to it. The meat of the post is all in the last sentence. You didn't want a wind turbine spoiling your view so now you could potentially have thousands of tonnes of chemicals in your water system instead.

Cheezy said...

"Cheesy it isn’t just the oil companies that benefit."

Where did I say it was?

Anonymous said...


you didn't say that. but they are the only stakeholder you called out... right?

maybe i should have said "the land owners don't seem too worried about the environment either."


Anonymous said...

i live about 2 hours from the 7 biggest windfarms in the USA. i think they look kinda cool. you see thousands of them over about 20 miles.

of course, all of them together don't provide enough energy for even one small city (austin or san antonio). not very effective really.

the environmentalists are trying to stop them though because some birds (innocent ones) fly into them and get killed.

i'm not sure american environmentalist want us to have any kind of energy...


Cheezy said...

"you didn't say that. but they are the only stakeholder you called out... right?"

Sure, but that's because the aim of my post wasn't to give a comprehensive list of winners and losers from fracking. People can do the research about that for themselves. I take it for granted that any time clearance is given for any kind of economic activity, then there will always be winners, such as the ones you identify. That's simple economics. Sometimes there are losers too though, which I believe was the original subject of this post.

My point was that corporations can be very short-term in their thinking (especially listed ones, who need to show black ink on the ledger on a regular basis), and they will also attempt to externalise as many of the costs of their business (i.e. make you and me and Lucy and future generations) as they possibly can. I work in the derivatives industry, so I know how this happens all the time in finance as well - I'm not picking on energy. It's just that in this industry the costs can be physically apparent at a very early stage (e.g. there's the great recent testcase of the Deepwater Horizon, which followed years of the industry basically being allowed to regulate itself).

"I'm not sure american environmentalist want us to have any kind of energy..."

Indeed, you'd be right there. Therefore, as usual, the solution lies somewhere between the extremes, between the sandal-wearers who want us all to go live in the woods, eat mung beans and lentils every night, and wipe our arses on the nearest flax bush (probably the same one for everybody)... and the views of corporations, who'd drill everywhere & anywhere if they could, if it turned a profit.

Anonymous said...

i fell like i lost this argument... what would david g say????? "american war monger capitalists suck". take that cheezy


Cheezy said...

Careful mate, 'speak of the devil' and all that...