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I Fracked Up

Learned a great deal from my previous post about the idiocy of fracking. I have a slightly immature rant on a subject I feel passionate about, this garners the most supportive but constructively critical comments from the most intelligent people I have ever encountered on the internet.
I was spitting chips about what I felt were dodgy experts we were expected to rely on as they presented a report of the safety or otherwise of fracking.
People with more intelligence (and possibly time) than me looked into the make up of the panel of experts and found them to be, for the most part, legitimate scientists familiar with the peer review process who had done a reasonable job.
It was pointed out by numerous people that if we doubt scientific peer reviewed research when we question the result, (fracking) and yet support it when we don't, (Anthropomorphic climate change) we are in danger of behaving like the moronic sub species of semi human such as the fool pictured below.
So I stand by my staunch opposition to gas fracking, it is stupid, it's short sighted, it will have long term harmful effects, it's a sign of a desperate industry in a panic.
All the panel of experts reported on yesterday was the earthquake possibilities which are the least of the problems. Its the chemicals they pump into the ground under enormous pressure that are of much greater concern.
Here's a quote from a recent report by a bunch of greenie wierdos, oh no wait, it was the Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce in the USA

“Between 2005 and 2009, the oil and gas service companies used hydraulic fracturing products containing 29 chemicals that are (1) known or possible human carcinogens, (2) regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act for their risks to human health, or (3) listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.” Of the 29 chemicals, 13 are classified as carcinogens, 8 are Safe Drinking Water Act regulated chemicals, and 24 are hazardous air pollutants. Many of the chemicals fall into more than one category."
So, I am learning, when it comes to nasty business like this, it's woorth knowing your facts, unlike the daft little prick pictured below.
He recently said 'The electric car is a sign of the wussification of America' so he is never a man to under twist any logic or sense with pure, childish emotion.
As with numerous right wing nutbags like our own barking mad James Dellingpole, I use them as a guide post, if anything I say or write is in any way similar to them, I stop doing it and think for a year or two.
Pic from business insider dot com
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27 comments
 
You make some really valid points there, Robert. Of course, the whole fracking process falls into two distinct camps.

The social (ethical?) implications of fracking.

The enviornmental implications of fracking.

I think it's possible to object to the first while paying attention to the peer reiew process you detail for the experts involved.

As for envrionemntal impact? That's a tougher nut to crack. Remember that for many years, people thought radiation was a good thing, putting radioactive mateirals in everything from food to condoms.

I'm not saying that the esteemed scientists and geologists who have an intricate understanding of fracking are wrong, but merely pointing out that as a species, we don't know everything.

In this case then, I object to fracking from a social environmental angle, namely that there are alternatives to some of our energy needs.

And as with many energy commentators, I think that a mahattan-project-style effort to solve our immediate and future energy concerns is what we really need to fund right now.

Not searching for the very last ccs of a finitie resource that we're chasing in a drug-addled stupor.

As for more info on fracking? I highly recommend TheOilDrum.com, -- one of the writers there was a guest on TWiE last week.

http://thisweekinenergy.tv/twiepodcast-episode-65-were-back-baby
seb m
 
If you are a dry period in the UK it is not to be Fracking with the water table.
 
Every time I hear the term "Fracking" I immediately think of the re-imaged Battlestar Galactica. In that TV series it is a dirty word, and reality, it suits what they are doing down to the ground, as it is a dirty business.
 
I get the same images as +Nathan Baron
Clearly we watch the same TV.
I also agree with the sentiment regarding the other meaning of Fracking - not a good idea.
 
In principle it sounds wonderful and for places (as Radio 4 ) said last night in America with huge unpopulated areas and Poland and the ex soviet countries they wont disturb and have greater energy indpendance from neighbours . IT might work and they can possible refine the process safely ? In the UK I thought the plan for connecting to Icelands geothermal ebergy sources and Norways Gas (thus making scandinavia and UK an independant energy system as well ) was proposed the other day , in a shock horror good idea by the govermeht ? Who says teh Lib Dems dont have good ideas http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17694215
 
yeah... we better stop fracking up the planet....
 
FUBAR is obviously in the Oil Junkies dictionary.....Fracked Up Beyond All Recognition
 
+Nathan Baron You an me both. Fracking hell, I think of it whenever I think of the oil industry....

Thought of making a T-Shirt that said.

"The Only Fracking I Want Is In My Bedroom"
 
Agree with all of that.. But the 'known or possible carcinogen' thing can be overstated. Sometimes things are classed as possibly carcinogenic if there is insufficient evidence to confirm they definitely /aren't/ carcinogenic - for example, coffee infamously has this classification, and so do mobile phones now, I believe.
 
That is a bold post Robert, it is important to acknowledge errors and over reaction.

I was always taught that It is important to not let your judgement be clouded by emotion, you cannot win an argument with feelings, objectify everything, break down what is being presented and highlight the flaws in what is given to you, if you diverge from the subject at hand to cover the subject at large your points become less valid and tend towards hyperbole.

Yes fossil fuels like gas are a problem, Yes fraking is not ideal, Yes fraking uses some pretty nasty crud, Yes shallow fraking risks polluting groundwater, yes fraking can open unwanted fissures to release gas by the wrong route.

But as is being reported the results of this scientific research show fraking won't cause damage to your house. whilst earthquakes can be generated they are so small you need special equipment to detect them. They are no worse than the natural earthquakes that occur regularly.

It was wrong to accuse these scientist of mis-information or bias. they are only doing 'a' job, 'a' single task, analysing 'a' small part of a big industry.

The earthquakes were the reason why the Blackpool operation was halted, the earthquakes are now deemed not to be a problem, and the fraking will resume.

As for all the other issues well they are just that, other issues with fraking. At some point someone in charge will have assessed the other risks and made the decision that they are acceptable. This is where the problem really lies, and where your frustrations should be directed.
 
With regards to the asshat pictured... I never say something like this otherwise, because it's pretty non-classy, but in his case I'm pleased that he's old, fat and out of shape. That will hasten the time when the airways are clear of his particular brand of filth. When you see a truly evil human being like that, I don't really think it's a bad thing to want him dead as long as you don't take steps to personally hasten the process.

Though I might send him many many fattening pastries to have with his coffee. It's a thought...

Fracking is a bad process to do a bad thing for a bad reason. Really, once you see people's faucets burst into flame when people have water running out of them, I think you've proven that fracking has nasty side effects. And since we use fracking for a BS reason that we don't need, why would we accept it? Nevermind earthquakes, it's enough that we're pumping toxic filth that the companies refuse to even divulge the recipe for into the ground and contaminating water resources all over the place.

The fracking companies have exemptions from the Clean Water Act in the USA. Why would they need exemptions if they don't pollute? They purchased enough politicians to get the regulations they wanted and then they started lying through their teeth while they pollute merrily away in the name of Holy Profit. Fracking is unacceptable and done for all the wrong reasons, and we have got to stop that crap.
 
I have to say that I love TED talks (www.ted.com), whether you agree with what the speaker is saying or not, this one seems to sum up how the traditional big oil/gas companies are approaching the energy crisis....
http://blog.ted.com/2012/02/29/an-alternative-to-alternative-energy-t-boone-pickens-at-ted2012/
The actual talk here, after the talk, watch for a lively Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson.
http://www.ted.com/talks/t_boone_pickens_let_s_transform_energy_with_natural_gas.html
 
+Kimmo Jaskari Do you have a link to the official documents that show the exemptions from the Clean Water Act?

I keep reading that they have exemption, but the claimed source (the 2005 Energy Policy Act, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-109publ58/pdf/PLAW-109publ58.pdf) makes no reference that I can see.

Also, for your information, you can go to http://fracfocus.org/ and find out what chemicals are in use at any site in the US; the companies are not refusing to disclose that.

Really, I'm OK that you don't like the idea of fracking (I'm not to happy with it myself), but I want to see some actual evidence rather than the oft-repeated rumors.

Are you aware that some bunch of idiots is proposing to generate power from a totally unshielded nuclear reactor that has no waste control, no shielding and no plans to ever decommission that will kill 3,000 people a year in the UK alone from radiation?
 
Hahaha, solar energy described in the most melodramatically negative terms. I see what you did there.
 
+Al Nicholson It's written about in far too many places to doubt. I haven't read the actual legal documents. This seems to hold quite a few references to the various exemptions they enjoy, however, if you really feel a need to doubt: http://www.ewg.org/reports/Free-Pass-for-Oil-and-Gas/Oil-and-Gas-Industry-Exemptions - or just Google it and it's debated in quite a few separate places. I doubt if it all came about from an unsubstantiated rumor somewhere. https://www.google.com/search?&q=clean+water+act+exemption+fracking
 
Drat, busted.

Point is that it's easy to be scared by something we don't fully understand especially when someone else makes intentionally emotive negative claims. It's easy to be frightened when someone tells you that chemicals like dihydrogen monoxide and 2-butoxyethanol have been detected in the run-off, but once you know that they are water and liquid hand soap (one of the common ingredients anyway) you might feel a bit of a ninny.

We should also not forget that New Zealand have been fracking for ~40 years without incident, which can give us some indication of how safe it really is.
 
+Kimmo Jaskari I'm afraid I do not doubt that those debates came from unsubstantiated rumor, that site references both the 2005 Energy Bill (linked in my earlier post) and the 2008 Clean Water Act (here: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/laws_regulations/docs/fedwaterpollutioncontrolact.pdf).

Having actually taken the trouble to read both of these documents I can point you to the storm water exemption in the Clean Water Act .Section 402.(l).(2) - page 106.

The exemption only applies for storm water runoffs "which are not contaminated by contact with, or do not come into contact with, any overburden, raw material, intermediate products, finished product, byproduct, or waste products located on the site of such operations."

If you read the entire section you will find that it actually refers to rainwater collected and drained off (albeit in a rather wordy fashion). In other words, oil and gas companies are not responsible for rainwater that flows through their guttering.

Big wow.

The ewa.org site makes a significant omission in this area from a single paragraph; why would I trust any of their other assertions?
 
Well, came to this for laughs and some possible science, Last week you were pushing for Nukes and now your worrying about Fracking, and you waste time taking personal shots at Limbaugh. We that have to live with the Nukes waste products thank you. (Sorry Sarcasm mode.) Water can be cleaned if something goes wrong, Radiation kills for generations. Your all over the place from day to day. I'm still a fan of your work but no longer this smegging nonsense.
 
+Dennis Mix An interesting response to say the least. I'm sorry if you got the impression that I was fine and dandy with the massive unresolved issue of nuclear waste, I cannot imagine how that happened. It is THE criticism I always make about the notion of 'safe' nuclear power.
The main reason I am opposed to fracking is that it doesn't get us anywhere, it's expensive, short term and clearly has some negative side effects, but mainly it's still being used to create electricity and heat by burning stuff. It's just dumb. I would have thought that with all my obvious failings, that one thread runs through my posts fairly consistently.
 
+Iain Chapman, I think one reason people are panicking now over a technology that's been around for decades is that it has proliferated enormously in the last handful of years. The used it in a few places before, and now you have dozens or hundreds of new fracking sites being set up in areas all across the U.S., all at once. Places that never saw much or any extraction of any kind are seeing oil companies moving in and setting up wellheads everywhere. That sort of shift always causes a stir.

Being in California, I'm exquisitely sensitive to drinking water issues; I never saw "Gasland", but I am wary of water pollution (it's not as simple to "clean" water of some contaminants as you may think) and I haven't seen anything yet to assuage my concerns on that front. When it comes down to it, though, there's nothing I can do to slow it down, so I'll just have to wait and watch for the eventual consequences, and hope they aren't as bad as people fear.
John E
 
+Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield Radiation is a good thing, what do you think Solar power is?. Without radiation you would freeze to death, be unable to make a mobile telephone call, see what's on your computer screen or receive TV broadcasts. True, too much radiation can kill you, but so can too much oxygen.

It's black-and-white thinking like "radiation is bad", idiot-thinking really, that causes most of the controversy around new technology and is responsible for holding us back in so many ways.

People hold up the "nuclear disaster" in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami and say "See! We told you nuclear power was unsafe!!". Nobody died from Fukishima, although thousands did die from their ceilings collapsing on them. So maybe it's ceilings that are the true killers, and we should start a campaign to stamp them out.

I'm undecided on Fracking, I can see the worry about putting "chemicals" into the ground since, much like radiation, "Chemicals are bad", and I'm aware of some of the anecdotal horror stories that have come out of the US about polluted groundwater etc, but I wonder how much of that is due to fracking quakes disturbing pre-exisiting pollution in the water table, rather than directly contributing to it. So far, none of the investigations into reported cases of contamination have found fracking chemicals in the complained-about water, just "other stuff".

I think the chemicals are injected far enough below the water table such that they cannot make it back to the surface. After all, if the lighter-than-air gas is trapped down there, then anything heavier than air that gets pumped down will logically get trapped too, no? I distrust heavy industry and energy companies as much as the next man, but I've seen no compelling evidence that fracking chemicals make it into the groundwater, and if they ever did, our EPA would go apeshit.
 
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