Anti-Fracking Enviros Attempt to Silence NY State's Top Staff Geologist

Claiming that hydro-fracking harms aquifers, environmental activist groups have managed to scare New York State legisiators and regulators into a moratorium on using the technology that enables the production of copious quantities of natural gas from shale deposits. On March 14, the Albany Times Union ran a story on fracking which quoted the state's top geologist Langhorne "Taury" Smith:

State government's top scientist on the underground features of New York has never weighed in on the contentious matter of drilling in the great Marcellus shale layers stretching beneath a big part of upstate. Until now.

"The worst spin on the worst incidents are treated as if it's going to be the norm here," said Taury Smith, the state geologist, a self-described liberal Democrat more concerned with global warming than extraction of natural gas from one of the largest sources available in the United States. "This could really help us fight climate change; this is a huge gift, this shale."

He said he has been examining the science of hydrofracturing the shale for three years and has found no cases in which the process has led to groundwater contamination,[emphasis added] although several portrayals by anti-fracking groups and featured in the press have raised concerns about underground pools being harmed because of drilling.

"Those are exaggerated problems; each incident wasn't the result of hydro-fracking. There were incidents of groundwater contamination near frack sites, but they were unrelated," Smith said. He said the industry should be strictly monitored by the Department of Environmental Conservation, and should be encouraged to move the nation away from coal-fired power and to the more environmentally friendly natural gas.

All too predictably, as the Times Union reported two weeks later, green activists have erupted in anger:

Voices from across New York reacted, including representatives of Environmental Advocates and related groups opposing the horizontal drilling. "That's an irresponsible statement; people are getting sick and dying," asserted David Braun, a New York City activist with United For Action. Braun said Smith is clearly in the pocket of the gas industry and has spread that view in multiple email letters. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist; I am aware that when somebody is getting money from an industry it does sway opinion."

Similarly, Stephanie Low, a Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter "National Hydrofracking Team" member, has spread the word of her suspicions of Smith. "He works for the gas industry, so it might be extremely difficult for him to notice that most of his statements are not supported by the facts," she asserts. "Perhaps he doesn't read the (New York) Times." She works as a manager of a classical musician.

The Education Department will not allow Smith to talk to reporters now. Besides muzzling him, the department, which oversees his New York State Museum geology unit, won't permit him to take calls. Instead, the department provided a reporter a copy of its internal protocol for handling media inquiries which says failure to check with the office of communications first would result in "appropriate administrative action."

The Times Union reports that Smith apparently is an unpaid consultant to Ammonite Resources, but has done no consulting on projects in New York or Pennsylvania. The Times Union also reported:

Smith, who has worked for the state for nearly 11 years, disclosed on the Ammonite website that he has done and does consulting for Saudi Aramco, Angola LNG, Shell, Texaco, Repsol, Devon, Encana and other clients. Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman said SED is looking into those associations and "will take swift action as appropriate." None of the companies named have applied for the rights to drill in the Marcellus formation, according to state data. 

In a March 31 op/ed entitled "A Bad Lesson in Censorhip", the Times Union argues:

The state Education Department’s silencing of unpopular views isn’t in the best interests of informed public policy or open debate....

One might reasonably assume that the state’s top staff geologist would have some relevant thoughts about drilling for natural gas. But good luck finding out what’s on Langhorne B. Smith Jr.’s mind, now that the state has muzzled him.

If only irony were an alternative energy source. Here’s the state Education Department ­— an agency responsible for fostering knowledge — barring Mr. Smith from talking to reporters after his comments on gas drilling caused a backlash among environmentalists — who normally are the first to cry out when politics takes precedence over science.

The op/ed points out that the environmentalists had quite a different attitude when New York State tried to silence a scientist with whom they agreed:

We’ve been down this unfortunate road before. The state’s former wildlife biologist, Ward Stone, endured official intimidation, including a threat of transfer, for his dogged pursuit of pollution. He was an important voice on issues like the state’s own now-defunct trash incinerator in downtown Albany, where his tests found evidence of pollution in residential neighborhoods. Environmentalists protested the state’s attempts to silence him.

Not here, though. They’re content to let a scientist they disagree with be gagged.

The Times Union op/ed concludes:

They should join us instead in calling on Education Commissioner David Steiner and the Board of Regents to relax their stifling policies and let public employees contribute to important public discussions without checking with official handlers. This debate should be all about finding the truth, not winning even at the cost of it.

Indeed.

Go here for my column, What the Frack!, on the issue.

My thanks to the pro-gas industry blog Energy In Depth for the links to this controversy.

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  • Warty||

    KOCHTOPUS

  • ||

    Close; actually it's George Soros funding a lot anti-fracking propaganda. I wonder if that has to do with his investments in other forms of energy.

  • ||

    No drilling in NY = more money to Texas.

    What could be wrong with that?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Braun said Smith is clearly in the pocket of the gas industry and has spread that view in multiple email letters. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist; I am aware that when somebody is getting money from an industry it does sway opinion."

    And it doesn't take an an attorney-general; I am aware that when someone makes an expressed to implied to be fact, which defames someone's reputation, without proof...that's libel, Mr. Braun!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    *"makes a statement expressed or implied to be fact"

  • ||

    They have to KNOW that they are not telling the truth for libel to apply. That's why you never see these cases go anywhere.

  • stuartl||

    ....and these folk don't actually know anything, they specialize in being indignant.

  • ||

    "They have to KNOW that they are not telling the truth .."

    Can we get a legal scholar to weigh in here....isn't there also reckless disregard for the truth ? (not saying Braun's statement rises to that level, though.)

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    "Braun said Smith is clearly in the pocket of the gas industry"

    Speaking as a linguist and language educator, that Braun uses the idiom "in the pocket" strongly implies he believes some sort of corruption on Smith's part. If that's not what Braun means, he should be more careful with his words.

  • ||

    Yes, but if Braun believes that this is true, and has whatever reason for this belief, then it is NOT libel, imo.

  • ||

    Since Sullivan, a public official or other person who has voluntarily assumed a position in the public eye must prove that a libelous statement "was made with 'actual malice'—that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard to whether it was false or not" (Sullivan). The actual-malice standard does not require any ill will on the part of the defendant. Rather, it merely requires the defendant to be aware that the statement is false or very likely false. Reckless disregard is present if the plaintiff can show that the defendant had "serious doubts as to the truth of [the] publication" (see St. Amant v. Thompson, 390 U.S. 727, 88 S. Ct. 1323, 20 L. Ed. 2d 262 [1968]).

  • Anomalous||

    Frickin' frackers!

  • Industry Maven||

    Frack and drill will never die!

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "That's an irresponsible statement; people are getting sick and dying,"

    Unintentional humor or troll?

  • ||

    Unintentional humor. If he was a troll, it would be "women, children, the elderly, and minorities are getting sick and dying."

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "Perhaps he doesn't read the (New York) Times."

    Haha, keep em coming.

  • Old Mexican||

    Claiming that hydro-fracking harms aquifers, environmental activist groups have managed to scare New York State legsiators[...]


    A "legsiator" is a person that makes legs his lifelong interest.

  • Old Mexican||

    Voices from across New York reacted, including representatives of Environmental Advocates and related groups opposing the horizontal drilling. "That's an irresponsible statement; people are getting sick and dying," asserted David Braun, a New York City activist with United For Action.


    Fracking killing people! Oh, the misery!

  • ||

    Seriously though, the geology doesn't even come close to supporting anti-frackers claims of groundwater pollution from the "FRACK PROCESS ITSELF". They're barking up the wrong tree and I have no idea why. Lots of irresponsible drillers can cause hazards in much more mundane ways (poor water retention equipment, poor cementing processes, utilizing local groundwater for work, reducing water table, etc etc). All the geologist is saying is that these "mini-earthquakes" as they're called are not causing communication between surface water tables and gas reservoirs thousands of feet down. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to demonstrate the anti-frackers claims are ludicrous.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Lost_In_Translation,

    They're barking up the wrong tree and I have no idea why.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Luddism

    http://anticivnet.blogspot.com/

    The Cain and Abel story is actually a metaphor for the struggle between civilization (agriculture, represented by Cain) and the seemingly simpler, bucollic life of the nomad shepperd (Abel). Halfwitted, risk-averse scaredy-cats usually long for the "simpler" life, without even caring about the vicissitudes of primitive life.

  • ||

    ...and they deserve to die.

  • ||

    LIT - are u aware of any tremors which occurred in faults close to fracking?

  • Gus||

    Smells like shit in here again.

  • Chicken Little||

    The sky is falling and now this too?

  • ||

    no, i was referring to how people have been colloquially referring to the fracking process.

  • sevo||

    OO|4.4.11 @ 12:49PM|#
    "LIT - are u aware of any tremors which occurred in faults close to fracking?"

    OO, are you aware that carcasses are found near bodies of water!?

  • ||

    One should always do 2 things when looking at situations like this.

    #1- who benefits from this process?
    #2- is someone passionate or rational about their pov.

    I think we can answer # 2 clearly in this case... so, who benefits from this?

  • Brett L||

    Here's my complaint. If this geologist hadn't consulted with a dozen O&G companies, how could he have any expert standing? Its a stupid argument they enviros are putting forth.

  • fish||

    EXPERT: College degree (no specific discipline), supports your position.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    American Public: "Good enough for me"

  • LarryA||

    And it works both ways, O&G companies hire experts.

    Imagine an O&G CEO saying, "We need a consultant. We could get Langhorne Smith the geologist, but who I really want is Stephanie Low. She manages a classical musician, and reads the Times."

  • ||

    I thought Bailey's original article was a bit on the weasel side. The claim that only a tiny percentage doesn't mean much unless you put it into the context of the overall quantity of chemicals and the relatively small amount it takes to make water unusable. Blaming it on failed well casings isn't much in the way of comfort to a person who can light tapwater on fire.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    If you are referring to the scene in the documentary hit piece Gasland, that has already been thoroughly debunked. The claim was investigated by the state of Colorado and there was found to be "no indications of oil & gas related impacts to water well."

  • RanDomino||

    I love how Libertarians believe State research when it supports what they already want to believe.

  • Jack On||

    Honestly, I consider myself libertarian, but I've noticed this, as well. I've fallen into that trap before myself when arguing, and try my best now to avoid it. Either the gov't is lying, or it isn't. It can't only be lying when it's something we disagree with.

  • sevo||

    I love how Lefties won't believe State research when it supports what they don't like.

  • ||

    Well, to be fair, when the state research supports those who don't want state power asserted, it constitutes a "statement against interest" by the state.

    Statements against interest are inherently credible.

  • ||

    There is no such thing as "inherently credible."

  • ||

    sez who?

  • ||

    Depends on if you believe there's a conspiracy or not.

  • Jim||

    Doesn't change the fact that the guy might be getting paid on the side by the folks who want to corrupt the research, or that some key officials in the state may be getting kickbacks to make sure their officers "stay out of the way".

  • sevo||

    "Doesn't change the fact that the guy might be getting paid on the side by the folks who want to corrupt the research, or that some key officials in the state may be getting kickbacks to make sure their officers "stay out of the way"."

    And all this from the grassy knoll! Who knew?
    BTW, that's not "fact".

  • Jim||

    It is a fact that he "might" be getting paid on the side. It's a fact that I "might" be getting paid to write this comment. It's unlikely, but possible. I didn't state that he is getting paid, only that he might be. Unless you can prove that he isn't, I'd say it's a fact that he might be.

    All I was saying, is that I don't trust the state when it issues reports, period. Even if the report pushes something that I agree with.

  • sevo||

    "Unless you can prove that he isn't, I'd say it's a fact that he might be."

    As it is a fact that unicorns might be involved, unless you can prove they aren't.

  • ||

    fraking is killing unicorns!?!

  • ||

    How far does it go....

    ...all the way to the top

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    Doesn't change the fact that the ecomentalists might be getting paid on the side by the folks who want to suppress the research. Of course, they may just be motivated by their awful neo-luddite ideology or the pursuit of influence and publicity.

    Wouldn't the best way to figure out what's going on be to have an open discussion with the participation of multiple experts?

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    When libertarians say that the government research is wrong, they typically offer some reason why like flawed assumptions or methodology. The filmmaker and the person with the burning tap water don't even mention that the claims were already investigated in the film. Nor have they sent any samples out for third party testing to try and disprove the state's findings, or at least they have not announced doing so. Why did they not do this? It wouldn't be that expensive, and would show scientifically that fracking contaminated the well water and also that the state of Colorado's enivormental protection agency is in the pocket of the natural gas companies. The fact that they haven't done so suggest to me that the state's findings are correct in this case.

  • ||

    RanDomino: The argument of the post is that no scientist (actually no citizen) should be shut up by government flunkies.

  • alan||

    When you stop billing us for it, then you can claim exclusive rights of usage. Otherwise, shat yer trap.

  • ||

    You're saying that because one claim in Colorado was reportedly organic methane that there hasn't been any water quality issues related to fracking? Read Bailey's original piece. Even he acknowledges there have been problems but he puts the blame (correctly) on well casing issues rather than the actual fracking.

  • sevo||

    "but he puts the blame (correctly) on well casing issues rather than the actual fracking."

    So, no, there don't seem to be problem caused by fracking.

  • ||

    Sort of like the gulf oil spill wasn't caused by oil drilling.

    If drilling is done right, the risk is low (but still exists). If drilling is not right, the risk is much higher. Unfortunately, due to legal dispensation granted to oil and gas companies, the risk is lower to them than the poor bastards who live near the fracked wells.

  • sevo||

    Jose Ortega y Gasset|4.4.11 @ 12:46PM|#
    "Sort of like the gulf oil spill wasn't caused by oil drilling."

    Keep waving those arms and pointing off in different directions!
    Somebody may think you have a point.

  • Scruffy Nerd Herder||

    That's why I believe in liability.

  • ||

    No, if drilling is done right, the risk is miniscule bordering on a rounding error. If drilling is done wrong, the risk depends on what part of the drilling operation was incorrectly performed and varies between previous risk and 100% likelihood (say where the casing has a huge hole in it right at the water table). There is a far greater (infinitely greater?) risk that overuse of the water table is causing gas in a shallow communicative reservior that was held in place by the hydrostatic head to migrate into the system than for a properly drilled well to cause any of those problems.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Of course, you're right, but you don't really expect a greenie to understand that, do you?

  • ||

    JQyG: The claim being made is that the fracking mixtures pumped into the shale formations are somehow drifting upward through impermeable layers of rock to directly contaminate drinking water aquifers. The well casing problem is a problem for any well, not just those associated with fracking. Clearly if a company harms someone's property through negligence (say, inadequate well casing) they should be liable for damages.

  • ||

    A well casing problem is a bit less of a problem if you're just drawing out water and not injecting toxic chemicals. C'mon, Ron, read a list of fracking chemicals. The local stormwater police are going to toss you in jail for having an oil spot on your driveway and the gas companies get a free pass to inject benzene and dozens of other chemicals? WTF? And thanks for the tidbit on litigation... I'll pass it on to the people who have suffered the effects of contamination only to find the company that screwed them is bankrupt.

  • sevo||

    "I'll pass it on to the people who have suffered the effects of contamination only to find the company that screwed them is bankrupt."

    And this claim (as dubious as it is) relates to fracking how?

  • ||

    JGyG: I am puzzled by your comments. Injecting a mixture of water and chemicals into rock thousands of feet below the surface where it is isolated from the environment does not seem like a problem. Again, of course, companies should be responsible for properly disposing of chemicals in the relatively small amount of "production water" that flows back up the wells.

  • ||

    injection wells I'm told are some of the most neglected things in the world and subject to very high pressures. If I was a New York regulator, I'd come down on all the injection well owners first at proving their well's integrity before I worry about the remote possibility of production well caused contamination.

  • ||

    Theory versus practice, Ron. In theory, injecting toxic chemicals thousand of feet beneath the surface shouldn't be a problem... but in reality, fracking has caused problems in drinking water. The most likely culprit is improperly installed or maintained drill casings, or pressure that exceed tolerances, or simple random chance failures. Of course, I'm not discounting the old "dump the waste into some creek while no one is looking" tactic.

    "Clearly" someone who pollutes a private well should be held liable... and clearly, all it takes is money for attorneys and a decade or two to wind through the American legal system.

  • sevo||

    "...but in reality, fracking has caused problems in drinking water...."

    In reality, there is zero evidence of that.

  • ||

    dammit sevo. don't type faster than me any more!

  • sevo||

    "dammit sevo. don't type faster than me any more!"
    Sorry. The BS detector got red-lined and pointed right to JOyG's bullshit.

  • ||

    "but in reality, fracking has caused problems in drinking water."

    Citations? Evidence? Causal links? Science? Proof?

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    Chemicals are scary. Therefore, they can drift upwards through impermeable layers of rock to contaminate our water and rape our children. Because they're scary. KKKemiKKKalz!!11one

  • Colonel_Angus||

    The idea that natural gas can contaminate water in an aquifer and come out of your tap in a flammable manner defies everything I know about physics and chemistry. That is not how domestic water distribution works, even if you have a private well.

  • ||

    What don't you understand? Gas in the groundwater will migrate up the path of least resistance, which water wells provide.

  • Zeb||

    Really? What principles of physics or chemistry are violated? Would you care to explain your reasoning a bit?

    It seems to me quite plausible that some form of natural gas could migrate into ground water where some is held in solution until the pressure is released at the tap. Unless Gasland was a complete work of fiction, some people do seem to have flammable gas coming out of their taps. Based on what I have read recently, it seems unlikely that it is directly caused by fracking, but it happens for some reason.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Just how much gas do you think will dissolve in the relatively low pressure of domestic water?

  • Zeb||

    I don't really know. I'm going to look into it now. My point was that your original post seemed to indicate some violation of some fundamental principle of physics or chemistry in the very idea that gas might come out of someone's faucet. It appears that some such things do in fact happen (though it seems unlikely that fracking is a cause). No one has claimed that the incidents depicted in Gasland were staged or otherwise falsified, only that the methane source was not deep natural gas deposits. So it is ridiculous to claim that such an event is a physical impossibility as it apparently has happened.

  • ||

    As a plumbing contractor in an area saturated with NG wells and storage caverns I can tell you that I've seen lit faucets with my own two eyes. NOT caused by fracking though.

  • ||

    So if it wasn't caused by fracking, what is the culprit? I'm just interested to know.

  • Jim||

    Has anyone tried having the enviros and the drilling company split the fee evenly on some environmental research, so that no one can claim that the scientist is being bribed one way or the other?

  • Gus||

    Dogs and Cats! Living together!!!

  • Gus||

    Dogs and Cats! Living together!!!

  • skr||

    It'll be anarchy!!!

    Hmm I like it. Where do I sign up?

  • ||

    environmentalistas don't have money, WTF STUPIDITY!?

  • NL||

    "environmentalists — who normally are the first to cry out when politics takes precedence over science that supports their policy preferences."

    Fixed.

    The fact that this needed fixing is yet more evidence that journalists are incredibly credulous of certain types of political activists. "Why would they claim to support truth and justice but then fall prey to hypocrisy for the sake of political expediency? It's inexplicable! Who can solve this riddle?"

  • ||

    "Perhaps he doesn't read the (New York) Times." She works as a manager of a classical musician.

    Fucking self-parody- how does it work?

  • Trespassers W||

    I honestly thought it was a typo. I belately realized that, no, her actual job is to manage a musician. It must be grueling.

  • Zeb||

    Professional performers generally have managers. Is this a new concept to you? Being a manager and reading the NYT certainly doesn't give her any credibility on the subject of fracking, but the irrelevant swipe at her chosen career doesn't add much.

  • TANSTAAFL||

    If she can question his credibility because he consults for major mining companies on issues pertaining to his specialty it is absolutely fair to question her knowledge base on a subject in which she has no professional experience or credentials.

    I am a molecular biologist, if I were to make a criticism of her impartiality in judging a music contest in which her client was not even participating it is equally fair to ask WTF do I know about classical music!!

  • Zeb||

    Oh, question away. I don't think she has any credibility on the subject of fracking. I only object to the unnecessary implication that her real job must be pointless and easy. I tend to think that you will be more successful in arguing against the idiots in the world if you don't go out of your way to sound like an asshole.

  • ||

    Mraaaawww!

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "'Shut Up!' the greens explained"

    What is this originally from? It's familiar but I can't remember.

  • rhofulster||

    I've heard it attributed to Ring Lardner

  • Fiscal Meth||

    thanks, you're right. It's in "The Young Immigrunts"

  • ||

    Frack, baby, frack.

  • tote-road||

    1. Gravity hasn't failed us yet.
    2. You can't get a hotel room in rural PA because of the gas boom, but the southern tier of NY (a positively Appalachian landscape) must languish in poverty because the term "frack" lends itself to catchy slogans.

  • ||

    Trust me, the Phil-Pitt fuckers in our state govt did their best to kill fracking here, too. Luckily rural PA has more clout in state govt than upstate NY does.

  • Spoonman.||

    2. You can't get a hotel room in rural PA because of the gas boom, but the southern tier of NY (a positively Appalachian landscape) must languish in poverty because the term "frack" lends itself to catchy slogans.

    But all the well-meaning Cornell professors are helping the region with their anti-frack yard signs and activism.

    I'm a Cornell alumnus. As soon as you get ten minutes out of Ithaca everybody's poor as shit, and they sure could use a new source of income.

  • B.P.||

    I grew up in Chenango County, NY. The area is broke-ass broke.

  • ||

    "This could really help us fight climate change; this is a huge gift, this shale."

    Natural gas has no carbon? WTF?

  • Scooby||

    Burning hydrocarbons (i.e. nat gas- mostly methane) produces a lot less CO2 per BTU than burning carbon (i.e. coal).

  • ||

    I'm actually missing something here. Why does it produce less CO2? I get why it produces less other pollutants (VOC's, NOX, HC's, etc), but why less CO2? It should produce exactly or more the CO2 per hp as any other hydrocarbon.

  • Brett L||

    because coal = 2C+ 2O2 = 2CO2
    methane = 2CH4 + 3O2 = 2CO2 + 4H2O

    Burning hydrogen is so exothermic we use it to launch the space shuttle.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Your stochiometry is correct, Brett, but you forgot to mention that, pound-for-pound methane, also yields about twice as much heat as coal.

    HHV Lignite Coal 8000 Btu/lb
    HHV Anthracite Coal 14,000 Btu/lb
    HHV Natural Gas 23,900 Btu/lb

    WRT H2, HHV Hydrogen is 61,000 Btu/lb.

    In general, the higher the H:C ratio of the hydrocarbon, the higher its heating value.

  • ||

    Dihydrogen monoxide is an even more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2.

  • Stephanie Low||

    Which is why it must be BANNED!

  • Zeb||

    I'm not sure of the exact chemistry, but there are several factors that contribute. For one thing, the formation of CO2 isn't the only thing that produces energy in the combustion of hydrocarbons. The formation of water releases energy as well. Since methane (the major component of nat. gas) has a higher ratio of H/C, less co2 is produced as a proportion of the combustion products than when burning longer hydrocarbon chains or pure carbon (as with oil, coal or coke). The plants used to generate power from gas could also be inherently more efficient because of the simplicity of the fuel (all you need to do is mix it with air, whereas coal needs to be processed before it can be burned and creates a lot of ash that you need to do something with).

    I just pulled a lot of that out of my ass, but it makes sense to me.

  • GT AE||

    1 atom of carbon and 1 molecule of methane produce the same amount of CO2, but the molecule of methane has a higher heat of combustion because it has the hydrogens to burn as well (which makes water).

  • ||

    Thats what I was missing. Thanks.

  • ||

    Natural Gas: Does Hydraulic Fracturing Really Cause Earthquakes
    Written by Professor Chris Rhodes
    Monday, 27 September 2010 14:34
    >It is concluded that a "plausible cause" of a series of small earthquakes in Texas during 2008 - 2009 is saltwater pumped deep into the earth to recover natural gas, though this explanation is not definitive.
    >In a process known as "hydraulic fracturing", shale layers are cracked by injecting water mixed with sand under high pressure, in order to liberate trapped natural gas.
    >Seismologist, Brian Slump of the Southern Methodist University, analysed data from 11 earthquakes and by a process of triangulation managed to place the origin to around one tenth of a mile south of Dallas-Fort Worth airport, on top of a geological fault located about 15,000 feet below the surface.
    >Since 2002, 13 fracture wells have been drilled in proximity to it, but the study led by Slump found that the epicentre is almost exactly on the point of a reinjection well into which 9,000 barrels of seawater/day were pumped at a depth of 10,000 - 14,000 feet. http://oilprice.com/Energy/Nat.....uakes.html
    _
    4.7 earthquake hits Arkansas, gas well operators suspend fracking
    By Lynn Herrmann.
    Fort Smith - Around 800 recent earthquakes in central Arkansas, including Monday’s 4.7 tremor, and a unanimous vote by the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission (AOGC), has led to a temporary suspension of injection well operations by two natural gas companies.
    >Chesapeake Energy, based in Oklahoma City, OK, and Clarita Operating of Little Rock, AR, have agreed to suspend injection well drilling operations in the central Arkansas area near Greenbrier and Guy due to an abnormally high rate of earthquakes occurring during the last six months.
    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/.....z1IZp95ULs

  • ||

    Since 2002, 13 fracture wells have been drilled in proximity to it, but the study led by Slump found that the epicentre is almost exactly on the point of a reinjection well into which 9,000 barrels of seawater/day were pumped at a depth of 10,000 - 14,000 feet.

    Point, reinjection wells aren't frakked from, they dispose of the produced water after fracks are complete. Possibly this well was drilled into the fault and the high water pressures are causing the subsurface movement?

  • ||

    Man-made earthquakes are nothing new. Out in the west, all kinds of temblors over the years have resulted from reservoirs.

    When you dam a river and let a whole canyon fill up with water hundreds of feet deep dozens of miles long, it introduces mechanical stresses on the underlying geography that simply weren't there on a scale no frack ops has ever remotely approached.

    This is to say nothing of the chemical alterations made to any subterranean hydrology and its cascading effects downstream to other geologic provinces in the neighborhood these reservoirs impact, and its worth noting the vast majority of truly massive reservoirs and dams are in the geologically busy and dangerous West.

    In comparison, these frack-operations are tiny pinpricks in the earth.

  • ||

    zeitgeist - google "hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes".
    >it is a long list

  • sevo||

    OO|4.4.11 @ 3:05PM|#
    "zeitgeist - google "hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes".
    >it is a long list"

    No. *You're* making the claim, *you* google it and show credible evidence.
    There's a long list of 'vaccines cause autism' too, and they're all bullshit.

  • ||

    Damnit again. Are you in my brain before i am?!

  • Zeb||

    Google "I eat my own poo" and you will get a long list. I don't really see how the number ofGoogle results is relevant to anything.
    I am sure that some natural gas extraction causes some small movements of different parts of the earth's crust relative to each other. So what? Is it dangerous in any way? Has it caused any real problems?

  • ||

    Fact is, the green-left is interested in eliminating hydrocarbons from human use. There will always be a terrible environmental toll that obviates any benefit to anything hydrocarbon in their world-view.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: TheZeitgeist,

    Fact is, the green-left is interested in eliminating hydrocarbons from human[s] use.

    I believe it is more succinct.
  • ||

    u can take old mex's succinct & combine it w a bloody tampon...& u pretty much have a used tampon.

  • Zeb||

    You can say that all you want, but it won't make it true. There certainly are some that basically want humans to go away, but the mainstream greens mostly just don't understand how anything works and think that you can solve any problem with the right set of laws and regulations.

  • CatoTheElder||

    In other words, the only thing they have to offer are good intentions.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, pretty much.

  • ||

    I just can't get excited about defending fossil fuels on a website that caves into the disinformation on nuclear.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "...a website that caves into the disinformation on nuclear."

    Do tell.

  • ||

    Hazel Meade: Disinformation?

  • ||

    Veronic De Rugy's piece in which she claimed that the cost of building nuclear power plants has nothing to do with regulation.

  • ||

  • ||

    Yes, let's lift the liability cap.

    Let's also equalize the regulations, so nuclear isn't subjected to extra layers of red tape and extra public hearings (which allow activists to stall) before being allowed to start construction.

  • Unlikely Hospitalist||

    Been following this closely @ Pundit Press, as I am an upstate New York resident. Glad to see it getting some play nationally. This rhetoric is coordinated statewide all the way down to town boards and planning committees.

    http://punditpress.blogspot.co.....-bars.html

  • ||

    "This could really help us fight climate change; this is a huge gift, this shale."

    This quote from Smith makes me very suspicious of him, to tell you the truth. I could certainly see an argument being made that the shale gas is preferable to the current reliance on coal because natural gas is cleaner, in terms of particulate pollutants, than coal.

    But natural gas is certainly still a fossil fuel - burning gas represents an introduction into the carbon cycle of "new" amounts of previously sequestered, fossilized carbon, to the same extent as burning coal. And thus, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that substituting gas for coal will do anything to help with the specific issue of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leading to global climate change.

    Unfortunately this crucial point is not noticed or explored in this story - but there seems to be the potential for a legitimate claim that Smith is not holding a credible position here, and that the enviros have a point.

  • ||

    Joe

    If carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a problem (I don't believe it is, but this quote relies on that not-uncommon assumption) then gas does help. It can be used to produce power far more efficiently.

    Of course in the end it would allow more total reserves to be burnt, but since I doubt we will see fossil fuel as a major energy source in a century's time this is not really relevant. By then new fission technology and probably some fusion energy will dominate, or some process currently unknown to us.

  • ||

    The problem is that the environmentalist wackos have been caught lying so many times, whether it's alar, or nuclear energy, or global warming or fracking, that many, like myself, are for whatever environmentalists are against. The environmentalist movement is suffering a serious credibility problem. God knows the corporations are lying, filthy scum in many respects but the environmentalists have shot their credibility to he11 over the years.

  • ||

    Corporations are actually far more reliable than environmentalists for one very good reason. There are potential direct consequences to a corporation of lying if they are caught, whereas environmentalists caught lying lose nothing concrete. They rarely even admit it, and if they do the press does not make much of it. Brent Spar springs to mind as a big European case - Greenpeace admitted later that sinking the obsolete oil platform would have been the most environmentally-sound option, and that they lied about how much toxic waste was still trapped on board.

    Environmentalists caught lying should be a bigger story than the original lie, but it is always almost ignored for one good reason: reporters are scientifically ignorant so always miss the lie, however obvious. They are not likely to announce they were fooled.

  • Peej||

    Amazing that envirofreaks are so often willing to believe that taking industry money influences an opinion, whereas taking nonprofit money or government grants somehow doesn't.

  • ||

    The great sin of hydrofracking is that it greatly expands the supply of recoverable domestic natural gas, reducing it's price. No energy crisis and lots of gas from private land makes it harder to expand the size and role of government.

  • ||

    "Perhaps he doesn't read the (New York) Times."

    Wow. I wish I had known when I did my geology degree that if I had used the NYT as my source I would have all the answers.

  • ||

    I guess you pro-frackers won't be convinced of the dangers of fracking until NYS has large poisoned dead zones where nothing can live, where folks just had to walk away from their property and homes. But even then you'll find some other cause of the pollution.
    You all probably still think nuclear is a great idea.
    The future will be wind and sun energy and sooner or later R & D will be invested to make those efficient. And you people who can't deal with change will be dragged along, kicking and screaming into a clean future.

  • Nike Dunk High||

    thanks

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