Holy Fracking Earthquake

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report on April 23, 2015 outlining evidence of “sharply increased” seismic activity due to human activity – “fracking” to be precise.
DEFINITION of ‘Fracking’

A slang term for hydraulic fracturing. Fracking refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formation and into the wellbore, from where it can be extracted.

Slick assertions by fracking advocates, paint rosy pictures of harmless and inconsequential necessity. Common sense dictates otherwise. Last year Oklahoma had more magnitude 3 or greater earthquakes than California. Oklahoma, by far the banner state for “human” triggered seismic activity, went from an average of 1.5 shakes per year in 2009 to 2.5 a day in 2014.

Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Ohio all reported increased seismic activity associated with industrial activity – translation, fracking.

Contained in the USGS official announcement…

“Earthquake activity has sharply increased since 2009 in the central and eastern United States. The increase has been linked to industrial operations that dispose of wastewater by injecting it into deep wells”

Fracking involves more than increased seismic activity – much more than an estimated 72 trillion gallons of water a year. Ponder 360 billion gallons of chemicals – formaldehyde, methanol, hydrochloric acid to name a few. Roughly half of this chemical sludge is recovered, taken by tanker or pumped into open pit pools to evaporate. Final “disposal” requires nothing more than a burial – groundwater, wells, agriculture of little consequence.

An article posted last September on conservative website American Thinker made me laugh. The headline – “The Science Is Settled:Fracking Is Safe” illustrates the sorry state of right wing wisdom. The first paragraph, managed in a few short sentences to take a jab at climate change, declare fracking safe, followed by “end of discussion”. Citing the National Science Foundation, Duke University and “others”, the article stated extensive research examined 130 wells, concluding that only a “subset of cases” – 7 wells in Pennsylvania and 1 in Texas (faulty construction or cement) polluted groundwater. There are over 500,000 wells in America – using the ratio of 7/130, that’s over 26,000 environmental disasters. The rest of the article just made me mad – linked below if you can stomach nonsense about how over 1 million frackings resulted in an infinitesimal 7 screw ups – they “examined” 130 wells, holy crap.


If the world was perfect, each and every one of these nincompoops would be forced to live in a community beside a fracking site.




What The Frack

Fracking is the name given to the process of fracturing underground shale to release natural gas. This is achieved by drilling wells and pumping them full of high pressure water and chemicals. Hundreds of nasty chemicals; methanol, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid to name a few go into the fracking liquid. In a year, the approximately 500,000 gas wells in America  require 72 trillion gallons of water, and 360 billion gallons of chemicals. Of this, only half is recovered – pumped or taken by tanker trucks to open pit pools, and left to evaporate. The concentrated sludge is then “disposed of” by burying it in the ground. Not biodegradable; groundwater is compromised every step of the way. Well water in close proximity to fracking operations have up to 20% higher concentrations of Methane. Hundreds upon hundreds of claims are on record; reporting increased sensory, respiratory, and neurological illnesses.

Regulations for fracking vary widely from state to state. Naturally more lenient in areas favourable to production of natural gas. New York state has 10 fracking bills on the go, as well as a moratorium on fracking until 2015 – Texas on the other hand, has half heartedly introduced a number of bills, but none have made it into law. The Obama administration introduced a proposal this May to look at drilling on public land as well as mandatory disclosure of chemicals used. Even if it became law it would only apply to federal land.

Aside from a scene in the first Ghostbusters movie when the character from the EPA shut down the containment unit, I hadn’t given the Environmental Protection Agency much thought. Feeling rather sheepish, it didn’t take more than 5 minutes of scratching the surface on fracking to shatter my naive perception that EPA walked the straight and narrow. The EPA has been taken to court numerous times by individuals as well as states. The state of California sued the EPA for failing to consider  or consult on the effect shale fracturing has on people and the environment before issuing fracking licences to gas companies. According to the author in the link below; the EPA has a policy of “sue and settle” – in effect agreeing in principal with allegations against current regulations or poor practices of gas companies. These “friendly” negotiations settle out of court – completely cutting out any input from residents, businesses, or landowners. Back room deals become law, then it’s business as usual.


Ponder the EPA not monitoring methane levels in groundwater or stepping in to force regulations regarding location of gas wells in relation to populated areas or sources of drinking water. Think about all that water being used to concoct a chemical soup while crops wither and families are forced to leave their homes because of poisoned wells. Consider “big oil” out of control, interested only in stock prices and their bottom line. What the frack!