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Unregulated Fracking for Decades? Why California May Be a Disaster Waiting to Happen

It appears fracking has gone virtually unregulated in California for decades and now lawmakers are pushing back with legislation to expose the truth.

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"In any event, there is little likelihood that any fracking operation could perturb a nearby active fault so as to trigger a major earthquake," he added. "The stress changes associated with fracking are much too small and localized to interact with a fault capable of producing a significant earthquake. In other parts of the country where fracking has enabled gas production from tight shales, the fracking has not caused earthquakes of any consequence."

To McGarr's knowledge, there are no high-volume waste-water injection wells in California located within areas of high population density, and he guesses that will continue to be the case. But we'll never know until the federal and state government is compelled by a plugged-in citizenry to force the industry's hand, and disclosure. Until that happens, they will side with controversial corporations like Halliburton, which is leading the opposition against AB 591 by arguing that disclosing the chemical cocktails it uses to fracture wells would be a violation of trade secrets. And the last-gasp natural gas bubble that fracking enables will continue to create flammable groundwater and destabilized grounds. Once it becomes apparent that the green defense of fracking is negated by more methane, which is 25 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2, then hydraulic fracturing's disclosure game will be up. 

In hindsight, it will look like a bunch of junkies who just didn't know when to stop tapping fossil fuel's disappearing veins.

"We need strong disclosure rules with narrow trade secret protections," Matthews explained to AlterNet. "BLM will be announcing a proposed disclosure rule in the coming weeks, and the public will be able to submit comments on that."

"The Brown administration still says there is no urgency to create regulations to deal with fracking," said Allayaud. "Their focus is on getting permits for regular oil drilling out the door faster. We think they have the capability to do both, and I think AB 591 will push them in that direction, because they need to be pushed. I've never seen a state agency behave this way, and I've been working around them for 36 years."

 

Scott Thill runs the online mag Morphizm.com. His writing has appeared on Salon, XLR8R, All Music Guide, Wired and others.

 
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