Bob Higgins

WTF: What’s This Fracking?

Posted in Bob Higgins at Clean Technica, Environment, Politics by Bob Higgins on August 31, 2011
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Hydraulic Fracturing of Shale Gas Deposits

Hydraulic Fracturing of Shale Gas Deposits in US / Source: Energy Information Administration Click for larger image

Reading” Looking for Gas in All the Wrong Places” a piece in Monday’s NYT by Stanley Fish I found a calm, collected, depiction of an equally calm and collected town meeting in Andes, N.Y. where the subject on the agenda was “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing of shale gas deposits.

Calm, rational, and civil aren’t normally descriptive of a gathering when fracking, the subject that is bitterly dividing communities from North Texas and Colorado to Pennsylvania, and from West Virginia to New York is under discussion. Fracking is a national and local hot potato.

This contentious issue has the oil and gas industries, development interests, and cash strapped landowners looking to make some quick lease money, on one side, facing down environmentalists, agricultural, tourism interests and other landowners, looking to protect the nature of their land and water from what they see as polluters and wastrels, on the other.

In the middle is water, the use and abuse of billions of gallons of it and the potential pollution, and ruination of billions, trillions… or some impossibly larger quantity, more.

Originally posted at Clean Technica: WTF: What’s This Fracking?

For those unfamiliar with the process, fracking, (diagram) involves the drilling of a bore hole in the earth usually going from vertical to horizontal in order to affect the largest area of the shale gas deposit and pumping it full of water mixed with, (among other things) diesel fuel, hydrochloric acid, methylene, sand, ceramic beads and other things you probably wouldn’t include in a highball. This is done at very high pressures in order to fracture the gas (or oil) bearing shale or coal and increase the flow rate for economically efficient extraction.

The water is then pumped out and separated from the gas and treated for use as… well, I don’t know what I’d use that water for, perhaps the livestock… but then there’s PETA, it’s a quandary, for sure.

Anyway, somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of the water mixed with sand and diesel fuel, methane, and other toxins and carcinogens or what the industry calls “goodies”…let’s just call it a fracking cocktail shall we, stays in the earth to go where ever it will.

Some say it gets mixed with underground supplies of drinking water, private, and public wells and contaminates aquifers. The “experts” of the gas and oil industry say this is “twaddle.” The environmentalists meanwhile, have presented videos of fire breathing and, Oscar nominated, faucets, as evidence of what the water is finally worth. The jury is out on any definitive conclusion as they’ve not yet been fully paid by the money guys.

A few months back T Boone “Cornpone” Pickens was all over the talk shows pitching his program of natural gas and wind energy, his “Pickens Plan” to save America from the Asian and Middle Eastern hordes and the subject of fracking came up often. T Boone “Cornpone” Pickens unabashedly said “… you’re not talking about Ned in the first reader. I’ve been here. I have fracked 3,000 wells in my life… I’ve never seen anything damaged.”

More recently, something (perhaps credit default swaps) has taken the wind out of the Pickens Plan but the basic fracking plan is still there. In addition to one of the world’s larger money collections, I think old T Cornpone owns more than a few cubic miles of natural gas.

Meanwhile, back at the Andes town meeting where Mr Fish reported that a full 10% of the population showed up (imagine for a moment that the city council meeting in your town was attended by 10% of the citizens… yeah, I’m thinking SWAT teams too) and when after 3 hours and 40 minutes of New England civility:

“One speaker called for a straw poll. “Anyone in favor of fracking?” Not a hand was raised.” Stanley Fish ? NYT

Bob Higgins

Originally posted at Clean Technica: WTF: What’s This Fracking?

Sources and Related links on Fracking:


3 Responses

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  1. David Arnold said, on August 31, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I can live without natural gas, or petroleum for that matter. I can’t live without water!

    • Bob Higgins said, on August 31, 2011 at 10:11 am

      Speaking of water:

      What You Need To Know About The Canadian Tar Sands : TreeHugger

      • David Arnold said, on September 1, 2011 at 8:47 am

        Pretty telling that we are resorting to such desperate measures for energy, isn’t it? Let’s drill in the ocean! No, let’s mine tar sands for bitumen and refine that into oil, then build a 1700-mile pipeline to transport from Canadian mines to the Gulf of Mexico! No, let’s pump known carcinogens into the ground to fracture shale and harness the gas released! I don’t know about you Bob, but I will probably have to start carrying around a throw-up-bucket when the “drill baby drill” chants begin. We both know they are coming!

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