lic fracturing, or fracking, has revolutionized the picture for U.S. energy production in the past decade. Natural gas production is up about 30% since 2005. Concerns about environmental effects on air and water from the wells, which shatter layers of shale deep underground to release gas or oil, have also risen. An Environmental Protection Agency review of well safety is underway and scheduled for release next year.
In a new study released Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a research team led by Robert Jackson of Duke University sampled 141 drinking water wells across northeastern Pennsylvania and southern New York, home to numerous new fracking wells. The results add to a 2011 study that first linked closeness to fracking wells to drinking water contamination with methane.
an — known as offshore fracking — is unlikely to have a “significant” impact on the environment.
On Friday, both the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) jointly released an environmental study that looked at the impact of hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — on marine ecosystems. The report analyzed 23 offshore fracking operations that operated in California between 1982 and 2014, and found that the operations have a minimal impact on the quality of water and ocean health. To the fossil fuel industry, this signals a return to normalcy, as both the BOEM and BSEE will resume approval of offshore fracking permits that they had temporarily suspended while the environmental study was being conducted.
But for environmental groups, the report is a troubling development. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, oil companies have fracked at least 200 wells off the coast of California — and opponents of fracking worry that these operations could be putting both California wildlife, and California residents, at risk.
"Fracking is a really dirty and dangerous
practice that has no place in our ocean"
“I think it’s just absurd that the agency could look at the environmental of offshore fracking and make a finding that there is no significant environmental impact,” Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director for the Center for Biological Diversity, told ThinkProgress.
According to Sakashita, fracking companies are currently allowed to discharge 9 billion gallons of wastewater into the ocean each year — and that waste water can include toxic chemicals. There is no limit for the amount of chemicals that companies can discharge into the ocean, and companies are not required to disclose which chemicals they use in their operations.
Environmentalists worry that those chemicals could disrupt sensitive marine ecosystems and threaten ocean health. Nineteen of the 23 existing Pacific offshore fracking platforms in the Pacific are located in the Santa Barbara Channel, which is home to a wealth of marine life, including dolphins, sea lions, and Pacific grey whales. The coast of the Santa Barbara Channel was hit with a massive oil spill last year when a pipeline carrying crude from offshore platforms — some of which also had fracking operations — ruptured, spilling more than 105,000 gallons of crude oil along the beach.
ndustry. The bans often put communities in direct conflict with states over the right to regulate the oil and gas industry. (See related story: "Health Questions Key to New York Fracking Decision, but Answers Scarce.")
The quake report, which coincided with the state’s announcement of some of the nation’s strictest limits on fracking near faults, marked the strongest link to date between nerve-rattling shakes and hydraulic fracturing -- the process of firing water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth to eject oil and natural gas out of ancient rock.
Last month, Ohio indefinitely shut down Hilcorp Energy’s fracking operation near the Pennsylvania border after five earthquakes, including one magnitude-3 temblor that awoke many Ohioans from their sleep.
TPS was created in 2011, in time for our first 9/11 Truth Marathon. Many thanks to Jim and SkyBlueEyes for helping with the background design and layout and Sky, BP, IC Freedom and others for all the hours spent in the Conference room for our Popcorn & Movie Topic Nights.