Saturday, June 16, 2012

NRC: No Fracking Earthquake Threat

WASHINGTON — The controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas does not pose a high risk for triggering earthquakes large enough to feel, but other types of energy-related drilling can make the ground noticeably shake, a major government science report concludes.

Even those man-made tremors large enough to be an issue are very rare, says a special report by the National Research Council. In more than 90 years of monitoring, human activity has been shown to trigger only 154 quakes, most of them moderate or small, and only 60 of them in the United States. That's compared to a global average of about 14,450 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater every year, said the report, released Friday.

Most of those are caused by gas and oil drilling the conventional way, damming rivers, deep injections of wastewater and purposeful flooding.

Only two worldwide instances of shaking — a magnitude 2.8 tremor in Oklahoma and a 2.3 magnitude shaking in England— can be attributed to hydraulic fracturing, a specific method of extracting gas by injection of fluids sometimes called "fracking," the report said. Both were last year.
So can we put this one to rest?  But count on the opposition to continue to try and raise false claims to halt gas production:

Fear trumps science:  How greens squelch fracking
The Sierra Club recently launched a strident campaign, portraying fracking as a “violent process” that “poisons” us. What about the Carnegie study? Forgetaboutit. The group no longer mentions it. Instead, it’s calling for “new research” to document (yet unfound) dangers.

The EPA appears only happy to oblige. It has already wasted untold millions of taxpayer dollars trying (and failing) to find fracking dangers, but it recently requested $14 million to work with “partners” to “assess [new] questions,” as agency chief Lisa Jackson told Congress. She also wants cash to study the “environmental justice” impacts of fracking on disadvantaged communities.

That request sparked an understandable rebuke from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): “That seems to presume there is a [negative] impact,” she noted. “Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to look for such impacts only if you discover there is a link between fracking and contaminated water first?”

Christopher Portier, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health, announced in late April that the Institute of Medicine would spend millions more to study “whether shale gas drilling poses a threat to public health.” The day of the announcement, he kicked off an all-expenses-paid two-day Washington “roundtable” on the issue, with luminaries from the public-health establishment on hand.

The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health announced that it’s launching a worker study — even though the safety challenges are little different than those the natural-gas industry has handled for decades.

The real goal of the anti-fracking complex? To gum the works.

In congressional testimony in May, activist Cornell professor Robert Howarth (whose work is funded by the anti-fracking Park Foundation) demanded yet more studies to fill what he calls a “research gap” — and said that fracking be stopped until “experts” (i.e., scientists from the activist community) can “confirm” that it’s not harmful.
In other words, stop until science proves a negative.  Fracking has been going on for years with little evidence for harm, and certainly no evidence of wide spread harm (I don't regard truck traffic as harm).  The unwritten agenda is to kill America's energy economy and send us back to the 19th century to assuage their guilt at having a good life.

Frack Baby, Frack!

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