By on May 10, 2014

fracking

“A world in which the leading petrostate is a liberal democracy,” The Economist sniffed recently, “has much to recommend it.” Yet it would appear there’s an unexpected side effect to fracking’s political and economic benefits.

A recent AP data analysis seems to indicate that traffic accidents in areas where fracking is practiced are up — way up. Fatalities in some areas have quadrupled, even as overall traffic deaths in the country as a whole have decreased.

In North Dakota drilling counties, the population has soared 43 percent over the last decade, while traffic fatalities increased 350 percent. Roads in those counties were nearly twice as deadly per mile driven than the rest of the state. In one Texas drilling district, drivers were 2.5 times more likely to die in a fatal crash per mile driven compared with the statewide average… the hydraulic-fracturing process… extracts oil and gas by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals. It requires 2,300 to 4,000 truck trips per well to deliver those fluids. Older drilling techniques needed one-third to one-half as many trips.

There are now apparently attorneys who specialize in accidents caused by vehicles participating in fracking, presumably because the pockets of the defendants are so deep as to be effectively limitless. Are the additional highway fatalities balanced out in any way by lives saved elsewhere — on oil tankers, in under-regulated foreign oilfields, in the United States Army? That’s a calculation too large for even the AP to make.

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210 Comments on “And Now, The Frackcident...”


  • avatar

    The ignorance I hear in regards to “Fracking” is astounding.

    Coworker: “I think all that hydro fracking is causing all these Earthquakes”

    I’m looking at her like: WHAT??? I can’t believe you just said that.

    While I hope the government will ensure that these companies clean up pollutants that may leak – the simple fact is that we need every single energy innovation we can get to meet our growing energy demands and H.F. has been a Godsend for North Dakota’s economy – and has the potential to help make America energy independent.

    I pray that a better Republican gets into office and unleashes America’s energy infrastructure.

    Why should I spend $4 for a gallon of gas if I don’t need to?

    Although I can afford it, what about all those American families that are being broken by the high costs of home heating oil, high costs of fuel and forced to ride around in lowly 4-cylinder econoboxes???

    That’s not Murica’.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      I don’t know which earthquakes your coworker was talking about, but fracking does appear to cause some of them:

      http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/05/05/309888859/usgs-okla-fracking-has-increased-chance-of-damaging-quake

      http://time.com/60363/fracking-earthquakes-ohio/

      Anyway, forget earthquakes. How do you clean up pollutants in ground water?

      Does cheap gas really trump *every* other consideration in life? You are talking about poisoning your own drinking water to avoid spending a couple bucks on gas. What will people do with cheap gas if they can’t drink their water?

      The ignorance here is mindboggling.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        Let’s take this in simple terms:

        Option 1: drill for cheap gas

        Results:
        – Get some jobs
        – Poison ground water
        – Make large parts of the planet uninhabitable due to sea level rise

        Option 2: Invest a small amount of what we spend on energy in renewables and electric vehicles

        Results:
        – Get some jobs
        – Reduce the cost of renewables and EVs to the same, or lower price, than gas
        – Have clean groundwater
        – Don’t drown all low lying parts of the world, including the entire state of Florida

        I would think that a child could see the correct answer here. Especially a middle class child who can’t afford bottled water.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          Only a child, since it is a fairy tale

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “Don’t drown all low lying parts of the world, including the entire state of Florida”

          I hope that’s not your main selling point.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          Option 3: develop molten-salt reactors that run on thorium or spent nuclear fuel

          Results:
          – Get a lot of jobs
          – Solve freshwater problems forever
          – Solve nuclear waste problems forever
          – Generate medically-useful radioactive isotopes on demand, thus increasing efficacy and reducing cost of certain treatments and diagnostics
          – Self-sufficiency in energy at current growth rates for centuries if not millenia, or when cheap, affordable fusion is perfected, whichever comes first
          – Improve robustness and efficiency of the power grid due to dispersing generation

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            YES Dr. K. Yes indeed.

          • 0 avatar
            imag

            Fine by me. Thorium looks promising, though it has seen setbacks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-based_nuclear_power

            The point is that we must consider cause and effect, and not rely on short term thinking.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “The point is that we must consider cause and effect, and not rely on short term thinking.”

            Then you don’t want a democracy.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            But Oh Noes!! The giant ants and 2-headed babies and godzilla!! :O

            (I kid.. I’m 100% in agreeance. Working in a nuclear industry helped to open my eyes to reality vs fallacy).

            The public’s reaction to everything nuclear is sad. Given time, revisionist history will tell us that radiation killed those 20,000 poor souls in Japan, not the flooding.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            There are still regular stories of killer radiation from Japan headed for California. Talk about ignorance (and irony). Nuclear power is ready right now to produce unlimited power. But no. Godzilla.

            Instead, we need wind farms and yoga or else rainbows will go away and Gia will cry.

        • 0 avatar

          “- Make large parts of the planet uninhabitable due to sea level rise”

          RIGHT – because we all know sea level doesn’t rise unless humans use fossil fuels…

          ;-/

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          The Science is settled! Your work here are done!

          • 0 avatar
            imag

            You’re right. I do tend to side with the overwhelming majority of scientists: http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

          • 0 avatar

            “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” – Richard Feynman

            If science is settled, why must experiments be reproducible?

          • 0 avatar
            chuckrs

            Ronnie

            That Feynman quote is a favorite.

            Here’s another from Max Planck

            “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

            Hansen, Jones and Mann are looking long in the tooth, aren’t they? Hansen has batted for the cycle over the past four decades – ice age/nuclear winter to global warming to climate change.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            The difference between the scientific experiment versus agreed upon consensus is this: Reproduction is a necessity for accuracy and if almost every scientist on Earth agrees that their models are intersecting then the scientific method has been completed.

            That is, these are predictive models and thus have a chance of inaccuracy but also as more data is added the models will become more accurate. At this point in the system of probability we’re past the statistical point or unreliability. So if you took your college stats course and followed that, it means they’re right and the chance of them being wrong is an anomaly at this point.

            I’m sure you can find some random occurrence where people thought otherwise in modern science but that is a case of ‘the exception PROVES the rule’. But if you really insist on going down this path you do realize you’re not going to gain traction with anybody but your own tribe of anti-intellectual fossil-fuel funded scientists.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            “Hansen, Jones and Mann are looking long in the tooth, aren’t they?”

            Einstein’s long in the tooth, too, but I don’t see any serious challenges to Relativity.

            ACC starts from a very simple and entirely reproducible observation, different amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere trap different amounts of heat. That’s hardly a theory, that’s a simple fact. We understand why, we understand how much.

            It is a primary forcing for a new temperature equilibrium. Unless there’s some other effect that counters it (and which we have not yet discovered), CO2 forcing is going to make that change. ENSO, NAO, volcanos and other effects create noise that makes the CO2 signal hard to detect but it is there.

            We also know where the increased atmospheric CO2 came from, and we know this from two independent measns.

            Expecting climate science support for ACC to dry up and blow away is pure ignorance at its best.

          • 0 avatar
            psychoboy

            KixStart:

            “ACC starts from a very simple and entirely reproducible observation, different amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere trap different amounts of heat. That’s hardly a theory, that’s a simple fact. We understand why, we understand how much.”

            “We also know where the increased atmospheric CO2 came from, and we know this from two independent measns.”

            so, if increased atmospheric carbon dioxide comes from human activity; if increased carbon dioxide causes increased atmospheric temperatures; and if we are currently witnessing the highest levels of atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide ever….

            then why have atmospheric temperatures stagnated for fifteen years?

            according to the settled science, mann’s hockey stick should have been a low guess…and yet, it’s high by orders of magnitude.

            the lead author of the IPCC report admits that 98% of the models do not explain the current hiatus in atmospheric increase. how far sway from the models does reality have to get before someone admits the models might be wrong?

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          The Statists’ overwhelming need for tax revenue clothed in DoomsDay verbiage and highly questionable computer modeling does not impress.

        • 0 avatar
          Elena

          Last time I checked batteries contained some awesome contaminants.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            +1 Elena

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Which is why there’s a pretty good recycling system automotive batteries.

            Ever hear of a core charge? Ever think about why you get charged extra for buying a part outright?

          • 0 avatar
            Elena

            @Luke42: I’m quite familiar with core charges: they encourage END USERS to return replaced parts. Where they go after that is another story. But I was not talking about a battery replaced here and there. Have you ever heard about the substances used in their manufacturing? Have you ever thought although they’re made in China we share the same planet?

        • 0 avatar

          Option 1 actually works, in that we get the gas. And if there was significant groundwater pollution, I think we would have heard of it by now. Right now we have a lot of vague accusations which tend to dissipate if we give them any degree of scrutiny.

          Option 2 has been tried in Germany, Japan and Spain. All three countries have grown to regret it, since the cost of electricity has skyrocketed. It turns out that you really need fossil fuels to, well, fuel a modern economy.

          I’m entirely for more research into renewables, and I’m sure they will get better and better over time. I hope that eventually they will become viable solutions to serve our energy requirements. But they are not there yet.

          The march to higher temperatures appears to have been halted for the time being, a strong indicator that the science is far from settled. But let us suppose this is wrong, and temperatures start increasing again.

          I don’t know if you’ve priced Florida real estate lately, especially around Miami. When you are talking about that much value endangered, problems tend to get solved. I have every confidence that we will create some kind of system, perhaps similar to Holland’s, to deal with rising water levels. It will be expensive, and painful to do, but it will get done.

          And it will be much, much cheaper than actually limiting our fossil fuel use in ways proposed by the anti-warmist folks. The proposals I have seen would destroy our economy, while reducing temperatures by a puny fraction of a degree, thus reducing water levels by some insignificant amount. This way of addressing the problem has no prospect whatsoever of solving it. A robust economy can build technical solutions to warming. A basket case economy cannot. This is the point made by Bjorn Lomborg in his book Cool It, which I highly recommend.

          Incidentally, when I first learned about global warming, I was pleased since I looked forward to warmer weather. It seems silly for me to have to point this out, but most people prefer warm weather. For every tourist who visits Alaska (during the summer, when it’s sort of tolerable) there are about about 40 who visit Florida and the Caribbean. Warmer temperatures mean more time spent outdoors being active and less time inactive inside. This means much better human health. And even the alarmists admit that temperatures are going to rise more in cold parts of the world then warm. So on the whole, global warming would have many appealing benefits, which for some reason are totally ignored by alarmists.

          Personally, I’d be happy as a clam if we could simply eliminate winter as a season and have no more global chill and misery. I finally developed a much better solution, however. I moved to Florida, and it’s worked great for me :).

          David

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Bingo David Dennis. Excellent post and thank you for the book recommendation. I would also love to see some of these folks read “Power Hungry” by Robert Bryce. They might get some understanding of energy density and see why solar and wind cannot work the way they would like.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            David, “Option 1 actually works, in that we get the gas. And if there was significant groundwater pollution, I think we would have heard of it by now.”
            We have. In some homes, you are able to burn the water as it comes out of the faucet.

            Solar, wind and other technologies are still in their infancy AND are improving. Molten Salt solar reactors are currently in operation in Arizona and are already proving their predicted capabilities. One of the world’s largest solar generators now provides Spain with nearly a quarter of its national needs all by itself.

            Thorium reactors are undergoing practical testing–one such plant in the basement of a city high-rise in Denmark, where it provides power for a roughly one square mile area. If a small plant can be that effective, a larger plant could easily supplant a coal-fired one and eliminate the pollutants resulting from burning coal–which includes the toxic ash that is too frequently stored on site.

            No matter how you look at it, we WILL run out of fossil fuels; we can’t avoid it. We’re already running out of crude oil and having to use exotic stunts like tracking, tar sands mining and even oil shale mining to supplement the few remaining viable oil fields around the world and doing more harm than ever to the environment at every mining site. At its worst, Copper Hill in eastern Tennessee held nothing to what’s happening now in Canada, Wyoming and other ‘oil mining’ sites.

            Coal, too, will run out, though we have a few centuries yet before we do–a very few. Meanwhile, we have environmental disasters like Centralia in Pennsylvania to remind us what a single careless act by a single individual can do to an entire region. This doesn’t even mention how our landscape is being so drastically raped by coal miners everywhere–strip mining in Germany and the US among the most visible but even mountains getting leveled for the coal within and under them. Such geological changes can and will have an effect on the climate ‘downwind’ of these locations.

            Am I a “tree hugger”? No. But that doesn’t mean I can’t see with my own two eyes and feel with my own skin what is happening to our world. As we learn more about our world and what made US what we are, the more I realize we’re killing ourselves–committing global suicide. The human species is dying–BECAUSE our population is growing and BECAUSE we feel we are ‘all powerful’.

            Carl Sagan was right. Our only chance for survival is to leave this world and spread to the stars. Any other choice ensures the death of humankind.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          What about, like, doing a bit of each, perhaps including the thorium stuff, and see what works best? Instead of just sitting around pretending “we” know beforehand.

        • 0 avatar
          Dirty Dingus McGee

          I’m curious where this electricity is going to come from. Coal fired plants are being shut down due to increasing Clean Air requirements and nuke plants are not being replaced as they close down. Neither wind or solar can generate enough to supply the basic needs for most households, not to mention that nobody wants them in their back yard. Then we get to the range of an electric vehicle. There are many days when I have to drive 150+ miles for my work. And carry large heavy items. I could get behind a CNG network(even tho power and mileage are less than current gas/diesel vehicles), but hoping for electric to save the world is wishful thinking. Might as well wish for vehicles that run on pixie dust and unicorn farts.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Nice of you to cut and paste your comment from one of the Tesla threads. This has been ‘discussed’ many times before, with the same answers. Coal isn’t going away–yet. While plants ARE being shut down, many of them are re-opening after major reconstruction to clean up their exhaust and make them more efficient. I live not too far from one of them and I can tell you now that where it used to pour smoke and steam out of all four stacks incessantly, now you can hardly see anything, even though it receives fresh deliveries of coal on a regular basis. BUT–coal will eventually run out. Then what?

            Many of these new technologies that you’re disparaging is mature; we’re running full-scale experiments even now to learn how to improve their efficiency while actively seeking newer technologies even more powerful.

            Solar CAN generate enough to power most homes–and does so even now for hundreds of thousands of homes each in different parts of the world. Spain now gets a large proportion of its energy needs from a single solar power plant–replacing several coal-fired plants.

            Wind farms are scattered across the globe as well, many in places you’re not likely to see them unless you actively look for them miles off-shore not only here in the United States, but also the United Kingdom–over and above the wind farms located in traditionally windy locations on shore. They too provide power to hundreds of thousands of homes.

            Hydro generation is constantly improved, ancient (as far as we’re concerned) river dams gaining new generators to up their output as that already mature technology gets constantly improved. However, mankind himself may kill hydro plants if we don’t do something about the water we waste. The Colorado River, once a major stream eventually draining into the Gulf of California, is barely a trickle at its mouth and Lake Mead, once a huge reservoir, is barely half of itself, taking power away from the power plant at the dam that holds it. We can’t keep raping our world and expect it to support us without giving something back to it.

            So, while solar and wind are developing technologies, we need others that are less imposing in size that offer even more power. There are new nuclear technologies that can use the spent fuel from the older technology to generate more power. There are others that are not only more efficient, but also decidedly less dangerous than any currently used nuclear technology–ones that wouldn’t carry a mere 25-year or 50-year life span, but could run almost indefinitely on a fraction of the fuel we’ve already declared useless. When we do run out of fossil fuels, we will almost certainly have a replacement in place–as long as we don’t let them be blocked by the corporations who live by fossil alone.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            You can chase any fantasy you want, as long as your budget is unlimited. It helps immeasurably when you are spending someone else’s money. However, it is still a fantasy. Consider this:

            Europeans discovered that subsidy support for renewables was unsustainable. Subsidy obligations soared in Germany to over $140 billion and in Spain to over $34 billion by 2013. Renewable subsidies produced the world’s highest electricity rates in Denmark and Germany. Electricity and natural gas prices in Europe rose to double those of the United States.

            Worried about bloated budgets, declining industrial competitiveness, and citizen backlash, European nations have been retreating from green energy for the last four years. Spain slashed solar subsidies in 2009 and photovoltaic sales fell 80 percent in a single year. Germany cut subsidies in 2011 and 2012 and the number of jobs in the German solar industry dropped by 50 percent. Renewable subsidy cuts in the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom added to the cascade. The RENIXX Renewable Energy Index fell below 200 in 2012, down 90 percent from the 2008 peak.

            Once a climate change leader, Germany turned to coal after the 2012 decision to close nuclear power plants. Coal now provides more than 50 percent of Germany’s electricity and 23 new coal-fired power plants are planned. Global energy from coal has grown by 4.4 percent per year over the last ten years.

            Spending on renewables is in decline. From a record $318 billion in 2011, world renewable energy spending fell to $280 billion in 2012 and then fell again to $254 billion in 2013, according to Bloomberg. The biggest drop occurred in Europe, where investment plummeted 41 percent last year. The 2013 expiration of the US Production Tax Credit for wind energy will continue the downward momentum.

            Today, wind and solar provide less than one percent of global energy. While these sources will continue to grow, it’s likely they will deliver only a tiny amount of the world’s energy for decades to come. Renewable energy output may have peaked, at least as a percentage of global energy production.

            http://www.climatedepot.com/

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            The problem with your argument, thelaine, is that some day we will have NO CHOICE; we will have run out of oil, we will have run out of coal and we will still have a high demand for electricity–unless we’re all dead (as a species, not as individuals).

            The subsidies managed to get things started, even if they didn’t make all that big of a splash. Sure, Germany abandoned nuclear–after what happened in Japan, and before it Chernobyl, they realized just how dangerous nuclear energy is when something happens to lose control of it. On the other hand, there are new nuclear designs on the drawing boards and getting tested right now that are infinitely safer and in one case in operation in the heart of a city with almost no risk of harm even if it went completely uncontrolled. The city could flood and no significant radiation would leak because the fuel used itself is so low in radioactives.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            You can ignore economics if you want Vulpine, but it will make you poor. The Europeans bought your argument until their industry, consumers, and taxpayers went into full revolt. Now the are reversing course. Lots of US coal is headed overseas. Solar and wind cannot compete and never will, due to energy density issues. When hydrocarbons become scarce, which is far into the futue, the price will increase to the point where other technology will make more sense. No reason to bankrupt country trying to force the issue.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Lots of US coal is headed overseas.” — Why? When that coal is supposedly needed so badly right here, why is it going overseas? Why is US-pumped oil going overseas? You talk about ignoring economics and right under your nose is proof that most companies are only interested in their own “bottom dollar”.

            Germany operates the world’s largest coal excavator–why should they import American coal? Or are they running out? (Think about the economics of that.) Spain on the other hand operates what is currently the world’s largest solar power station–just one–which is providing power to a significant part of that entire nation and allowing several coal-fired plants to go off-line. You keep insisting that solar and wind power CAN’T compete, yet they actively are. The only fear that hit Germany was the fear that their nuclear plants might do a Chernobyl. THAT’s why they shut down their nukes.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Oil and I imagine coal are being shipped overseas in (1) an effort to keep local prices artificially high by limiting what would be a supply surplus and (2) to give foreign countries something tangible to exchange their dollars for back from their source. Any nation which exports heavily to the US market (so Germany, China, India) is awash in dollars and needs to spend them on something.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Yes Vulpine, Spain is producing electricity via solar. They could produce virtually all of their electricity with solar and wind, at least when it was sunny and windy. They could also produce it by employing hundreds of thousands of people to run on treadmills. Unfortunately, it is not cost-efficient. Their solar experiment is bankrupting them. That is why they are reversing their policy.

            You have ignored this fact. You ignored every fact in my post regarding the changes in European policy regarding renewables due to cost.

            As for your statement about Germany importing US coal, what is your point? Germany needs coal. We have massive amounts. We also have massive amounts of oil and gas. There is no shortage. Are you saying there is a shortage because Germany is importing coal? If so, there is simply no point in discussing this issue. You are constructing your own reality. Worldwide estimates of available hydrocarbons are increasing. Fracking has revolutionized the industry. Natural gas is clean, cheap and massively abundant. Oil and coal are also abundant. Japan is looking into exploiting “fire ice” on the sea floor, which is also massively abundant. Nuclear produces 24 hours a day and is effectively limitless. All have environmental problems, but that is reality. Wind and solar? They are a bust and always will be, except for niche applications.

            You cannot argue your way out of reality. Europe tried. They failed spectacularly. You refuse to even acknowledge it, and so you cannot possibly learn anything from it. It is simply zealotry, akin to a religious belief.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @thelaine: ” Their solar experiment is bankrupting them. That is why they are reversing their policy.”
            I assume you can link me to this information? Because from what I have read, their solar farm has been a rousing success.

            “You ignored every fact in my post regarding the changes in European policy regarding renewables due to cost.” — Maybe because you haven’t proven your allegations? The things you have described can, after all, have more than ONE reason.

            “As for your statement about Germany importing US coal, what is your point?” — Obviously you can’t understand a rhetorical statement. Honestly, I have no idea if Germany is receiving that coal or not. If you can’t understand that I was illustrating a point, you obviously don’t understand anything I’ve said from the beginning.

            “Worldwide estimates of available hydrocarbons are increasing.” — Show me the data. And while you’re doing that, ask yourself, “How can available hydrocarbons be increasing, if we’re using them faster than we can find them?”

            “Natural gas is clean, cheap and massively abundant.” — For now.

            “Oil and coal are also abundant.” — And what is the estimate now for when we will run out of oil and coal? Who made these estimates? Has it been independently verified?

            “Japan is looking into exploiting “fire ice” on the sea floor, which is also massively abundant.” — Ah yes, the sea-bottom methane–the exact substance that caused at least one of the “Extinction Events” eons ago. We’d best hope the seas don’t warm up too quickly, or that will create another one.

            “Nuclear produces 24 hours a day and is effectively limitless.” — Well, not limitless as we currently have a lot of used fuel lying around in power plant heavy-water pools that still needs to be either used or eliminated. Storage alone is not an effective answer. However, there are new power plant designs and even Thorium reactors which are infinitely more efficient and safer than existing nuclear technology.

            “Wind and solar? They are a bust and always will be, except for niche applications.” — For now, maybe; but not for always. We simply can’t wait that long.

            “You cannot argue your way out of reality. Europe tried. They failed spectacularly.” — You keep saying this, but you have offered even one shred of proof, where proofs that refute your arguments are readily accessible from almost any scientific source. Even Popular Science, a consumer-level scientific reference magazine, gives the newer solar and wind technologies high praise for their successes. So how about showing us where all this data you reference comes from?

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Stay in your bubble Vulpine. You are impervious to reality. What you don’t like, you don’t see.

        • 0 avatar
          bachewy

          Well, I’m not totally against putting FloriDUH underwater :)

      • 0 avatar

        #1 EARTHQUAKES are caused by movement of Earth’s tectonic plates.

        What these people are describing may be ground tremors, but that whole nonsense about “fracking causing Earthquakes” is nothing more than the green agenda-minded environmentalists MAKING THINGS UP. These malthusian luddites HATE people like me and they go out of their way to damage vehicles that they feel aren’t green enough – even setting fire to HUMMERS.

        #2 pollution in ground water HAPPENS naturally. Oil leaks through cracks in the ground.

        We should make every attempt to avoid polluting ground water, but IT HAPPENS and is consequential of human energy demands.

        We should clean it up when it happens.

        Nature recycles natural pollution out of water via the water cycle.

        BY THE WAY… why is it they aren’t talking about the gulf oil spill anymore and showing all the oily birds?

        Could it be because bacteria have been eating it all up?

        usnews.com/news/articles/2013/04/08/study-oil-eating-bacteria-mitigated-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill

        What did JEFF GOLDBLUM say in Jurassic Park?

        NATURE FINDS A WAY.

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          #1. I KNOW what causes earthquakes. We are seeing EVIDENCE that fracking lubricates the seams between the crust, with the RESULT that there are more earthquakes in fracking areas.

          This is basic cause and effect. Please argue with the data, not with me.

          #2. How do you clean up polluted groundwater? Why would you pollute it in the first place when only slightly higher cost alternatives exist, especially when these alternatives are on a cost trajectory that is puts them lower than the cost of natural gas?

          #3. And a hell of a lot of middle class people lost a hell of a lot of money because of that oil spill.

          You are quoting a fictional film about fictional dinosaurs that eat most of the people in the film. This is not evidence; it’s ridiculous.

          • 0 avatar
            scottcom36

            ” We are seeing EVIDENCE that fracking lubricates the seams between the crust, with the RESULT that there are more earthquakes in fracking areas.” If true, that would mean more earthquakes, but smaller, less deadly ones since the tension on the fault line would be released more quickly. Sounds like a plus to me.

        • 0 avatar
          kjb911

          as a Jurassic Park fan:

          No, I’m, I’m simply saying that life, uh… finds a way.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          1) Water is a lubricant. Since some of our wells go miles deep, pumping water down there can make such tectonic movement easier and occur earlier, stronger than ever before recorded. You might note that we are due for a massive earthquake in the central United States even now. Fracking in the region could make that quake far more devastating than estimated by letting rocks move that have never moved before in recorded history.

          Believe it or not, I’ll agree with one point–the people maliciously defacing and damaging private property like your personal vehicle are in the wrong; they deserve to be arrested and incarcerated. However, they also have a point that the conspicuous consumption by the ownership of very obviously wasteful vehicles shows how little you care for where you live. YOU may be able to move away when a region becomes unlivable, they may not be able to afford to just uproot and relocate or they simply refuse to leave the place where their families have lived for generations. It doesn’t excuse their actions, but for some of them it is a reason why they do it.

          2) The pollution described is NOT natural; not when water that was perfectly safe to drink as little as a decade ago now burns when you put a match to it. This doesn’t even discuss the chemicals–solvents and other toxic fluids–that are used to help loosen the oil from rock that has held it for eons. Fracking intentionally poisons the ground where it is injected and because most of those chemicals are lighter than water, they WILL rise to the surface over time. What may now be lush farming country may become a desert–unable to support life for millennia. The corporations simply don’t care–as long as it makes them money NOW.

          By the way, they ARE. While some things along the gulf shore appear to have returned to normal, fishing and other industries that operate along the coast are still feeling the effects while nature reserves still see the occasional oil-coated bird or animal as more of the spill makes its way ashore.

          And yes, nature does find a way–over the course of hundred, thousands and millions of years. We won’t survive that long.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Vulpine,
            I know of instances of methane contamination that were blamed on fracking that have been proven to not be because of fracking. OTOH, I know of none so far actually shown to be from fracking. At any rate, constantly harping the “corporations don’t care” is getting old. Who, what, when, where?

            I can just as easily accuse you of child abuse, and it carries the same weight as your statements here, which is none.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Landcrusher (a very apt name for someone who doesn’t care): All you have to do is look up the list of SuperFund sites–sites where companies simply didn’t care — or rather, management didn’t care. I lived next door to one such SuperFund site–a supposed toxic-waste treatment plant that did nothing but dump truckloads of waste into the local creek with absolutely no processing whatsoever. Millions of dollars were spent WHILE I WAS LIVING THERE to dig out the creek bed more than three meters down, lay an impermeable liner and re-lay the bed with crushed stone over a distance of almost 1/4 mile, followed by sensors set at regular distances around the site and downstream.

            Drinking water for all residents had to go through multiple industrial-grade water filters at every single residence within a mile of that site and downstream until the creek reached the Chesapeake Bay.

            Each and every SuperFund site is evidence of uncaring corporate greed. Each and every SuperFund site demonstrates human health threats, where some show abnormally high levels of cancers or organ failure or other subtle yet definite disease that normally show very low incidence.

            And no, you couldn’t. Because first you would have to prove it. Corporate uncaring has been proven many times over.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Vulpine, if you like to leap to conclusions, that’s okay, but don’t be so sure of yourself

            I never said that there were not examples of corporate greed or uncaring. That doesn’t mean that the companies you are insulting today don’t care. They might care very much. They may take extraordinary care to operate safely and responsibly, but that’s not good enough for you because you have already convicted them. Let me tell you something. There are supervisors all over trying to improve safety and responsibility and every effing day they have to hear back something to the effect that the company is going to get blamed for not caring no matter what so why bother. If you actually want responsible corporations than stop sliming them all together and name names on the bad ones.

            BTW, Pedophilia has been proven many times over, too. Don’t you get it? It’s the same thing. You are a man, all men are pedophiles. We prove this because there have been abused children. This is EXACTLY the argument you are using on the energy industry.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Actually, Landcrusher, I don’t “leap to conclusions”, I use observation and logic to reason out reality from imagination. I don’t carry a narrow, tunnel-vision view of an event, I take a big-picture approach to understand Who, What, Where, Why and How.

            I never said ALL corporations are like that–but the vast majority were for a long, long time. What few companies today DO care are very visible about how they care–and I don’t mean by just offering a slideshow on how their new technique is “safe” but by inviting in independent analysts to prove it. So far with fracking, all I see and hear is ‘lip service’ while environmental scientists demonstrate the hazards that are growing due to the process.

            Here’s the thing, Landcrusher, I can more easily name the names of the good ones, because they are far fewer, even now, than the ‘bad ones”. Apple, Inc. is one of the “good ones”.

            Oh, and while “Pedophilia has been proven many times over…,” what hasn’t been proven and won’t be proven is that *I* am a pedophile. You make the threat, you’d better be able to follow up. Such a statement could well be grounds for libel without evidence to back it up.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Vast majority were… Leap (evidence?)
            Invite independent analysis… Leap (you can’t prove safety without repition of the act, you leap to its unsafe and ask the other side to prove a negative).

            The big leap here is your leap to the idea that they all don’t care from the evidence that some purposely or not screwed something up. You leapt to the idea that I don’t care because I use a nickname for the Landcruiser, too.

            We all have our ideology and preconceptions. If you want to live up to being logical you are going to have to accept you are using unstated premises which are vey questionable. Most of your arguments here would be improved greatly if you just backed off to a position that TOO MANY corporations ACT is if they don’t care. That’s a place where actual progress can start. (By the way, as an apple product fan I have to tell you there is a good amount of shinola on the corporate image. Take those same people and move them down the road to Chevron and you wouldn’t like where they might take it).

            The next step is then punishing bad actors rather than whole classes. It makes sense to throw out barrels of partially bad apples, but how do you justify groups of people with some bad actors in them? Those people are lazy? Those are weak? Those are thieves? “Those” being races, sexes, members of a religion.

            See my point?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Landcrusher: “Vast majority were… Leap (evidence?)”

            * Burning rivers.
            * Ash flood (northern Tennessee near Knoxville)
            * Copper Hill Tennessee
            * Cheapeake Bay (crab harvests down)
            * Delaware Bay (oyster harvests down)
            Do I REALLY need to go on?

            No, the big leap here is your intentional ignorance to what is going on in the world around you. It is your refusal to recognize that the human species is destroying our world DESPITE megatons of evidence practically under your own nose.

            Oh, and speaking of firing “bad actors”? What happened to TWO recent CEOs of General Motors? They weren’t fired by the Board of Directors, they were fired by the US Government.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Vulpine,
            Intentional ignorance…leap. Because you are now a mind reader?

            You can name bad incidents all day and it means nothing. Think about it. You claimed a “majority”. That’s more than half of all the corporations during the entire time of your sample list. Now, not leaping here so I will say I suspect that less than half of the corporations intentionally did that sort of thing. Perhaps if you want to define the standard of evil down to anyone in the entire corporation doing a bad thing, but that’s really saying people are bad rather than just corporations.

            Is my suggestion to amending your argument now so really bad? I don’t care about GM as an example. The fauxruptcy was a sham. They should have been handing out pink slips like candy IMO. And, reall bankrupting it. All food for other threads.

            Lastly, governments are by no means any better than free corporations. Their records on environmentalism are shabby, and then there are all the other evil deeds.

            I am happy to agree that the species is full of bad actors. My point remains it does no good to insult classes, only the actually guilty.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Landcrusher: Kind of hard NOT to read between the lines with your arguments; every statement you’ve made has insisted that corporations are not the “bad guy” in our current environmental situation. You’ve done everything BUT say “mankind has had no effect in Global Warming” despite geological history proving otherwise. But we’re not talking about Global Warming, we’re talking about how uncaring companies are causing as much as a 4x increase in accidents where there were few before and how the operations in these locations are damaging, if not destroying the local ecology.

            We’ve discussed methane leaks that weren’t there before the fracking began. We’ve discussed the chemicals used in the fracking process which are poisoning wells. We’ve discussed the geological damage caused by pumping these liquids deep into the earth–causing movement where no movement has been detected before. And all you seem able to say is, “It’s not happening.” What proof do you need?

            Finally, name ONE of the historical industry moguls that ever did anything “for the good of the people.” They did it all for profit and to be quite blunt, the corporation does what the CEO says. If it doesn’t, the ones who go against upper management simply don’t keep their jobs. The CEO WAS the Corporation and the Corporation WAS the CEO. Even today, when a corporation gets caught doing something wrong, the CEO is the first one blamed–unless that CEO simply hadn’t held that position long enough to have influenced that incident.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Vulpine,
            It would be easy to stop reading between the lines if you would read what I am actually saying and ignore your own version of what you think I am saying. My point is not that corporations are not polluters, it’s that blaming corporations in general is wrong headed and counter productive. It’s just hate.

            I own a couple corporations and one of them has never done anything even mildly bad. In fact, it’s done very little at all. The other one was set up to provide a newer, safer training plane for a community college aviation program. I suppose it polluted a bit, but it was greener than the industry standard and much, much safer.

            You have been talking about all sorts of things here, but if you will slow down a minute, and go back and look, my argument with you has just been over your blanket attacks on all corporations. I know some corporations are doing bad things, but if you don’t name the bad ones, and instead blame them all, it’s counter productive to your own cause.

            You say we’ve discussed things that I don’t think I discussed at all. If you have a verified case of new methane in water, I am unaware of it. Have you named the responsible party? Can you quote what I said rather than what I seem to be saying? I am aware of plenty of phony cases of damage, so double check your sources.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Landcrusher: Then show me the proof! The internet is full of rebuttal to every statement you make, yet there is very little evidence that supports any of your arguments.

            “I own a couple corporations and one of them has never done anything even mildly bad. In fact, it’s done very little at all.”– Doesn’t sound like much of a corporation in either case, then. What are they?

            “The other one was set up to provide a newer, safer training plane for a community college aviation program. Really? What plane are we talking about here? Did you build your own, or merely middleman an existing plane to the school? Of course, dealerships are corporations too, supposedly for the good of their customers, but their average reputation is abysmal.

            “…my argument with you has just been over your blanket attacks on all corporations.”
            Of which history proves that almost all corporations are abusive and wasteful–unless they’re held to a standard by an outside regulator. And yes, I’ll even include Apple in that, as Apple has been accused of malfeasance at times–though it hasn’t always been Apple’s fault.

            “If you have a verified case of new methane in water, I am unaware of it.” — Look up the geological history of one of the world’s Extinction Events–and what caused it. I’ll grant that there may have been more than one cause, but Methane combined with global warming are two of the culprits while a meteor strike, unless even greater than the one that killed the dinosaurs, is pretty much the least likely.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/extinction_events/Permian–Triassic_extinction_event

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Vulpine,
            I ask you to name an incident and you want me to show you proof? Proof of what? What are talking about?

            You are now just ranting. Just saying “almost all” proves nothing. You need to compare the number of corporations with the number of incidents. You are making an unsubstantiated statement.

            I ask you for new methane and you start talking pre history? That guy you saw on TV burning his water was already debunked. His well was bad YEARS before fracking was tried in his area.

            I doubt anyone is still reading who hasn’t figured out how useless your arguments are.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            WHAT “guy I saw on television”?

            As I have already said multiple times, your problem is that you’re taking a microscopic view of a macroscopic problem. You refuse to acknowledge history, both recent and geologic. Because of this, you’re more likely to be caught by surprise when something I’m already expecting actually occurs. I can pretty well wager it will be bigger than most people expect.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        “The ignorance here is mind boggling.” -imag

        Yes, every opinion that differs from yours must be rooted in ignorance.

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          Point 1: Fracking doesn’t cause earthquakes

          Incorrect.

          Point 2: Companies will just “clean up” water underground.

          Incorrect.

          Point 3: The only thing that harms the middle class is high gas prices, not lack of drinking water or lack of land.

          Incorrect.

          This is about evidence, not opinions. And those who do not listen to evidence are willfully ignorant.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        “Does cheap gas really trump *every* other consideration in life?”

        Yeah, it does.

        Affordable energy kind of outweighs everything else, seeing as how humans need it to purify large quantities of water, grow large quantities of crops and power electrical-generating plants to run hospitals, air conditioning systems, sewage treatment plants and computer infrastructure. You know, modern industrial civilization?

        It’s not about “…avoiding spending a couple bucks on gas.” That’s just a happy side effect.

        Besides, NPR and Time are hardly objective, trustworthy sources of information.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          This is the ongoing battle between those who would force “a world lit only by fire” upon us for the sake of the world, and those who say: let the rest of the world get its population and governance under control before they can expect to live like us or us to live like them.

          Eff the planet, I want cheap energy because life isn’t worth living without it. Especially for refrigerators.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        You’d understand bigtruckseries’ priorities if you were to watch on his his YouTube macho show-offs.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        imag, you are the one who is ignorant.

        1) If hydraulic fracturing process itself triggers earthquakes, some geologist is getting fired. Areas where the rock is already fractured from a fault have already leaked their hydrocarbons. The whole point of the hydraulic fracturing process is to create artificial fractures to allow gas or oil to flow out of a tight rock formation.

        2) The hydraulic fracturing process is also unrelated to potential drinking water contamination. They occur at completely different layers in the earth separated by about a mile of rock. Potential pollution comes from either spilled salty wastewater after fracing or a problem with the casing related to the drilling operation before fracing.

        3) Brine disposal wells appear to sometimes cause small magnitude 3 type earthquakes. The location of these earthquakes is well correlated to the location of brine disposal wells. Oklahoma has also been more seismically active in recent years with earthquakes one or two orders of magnitude stronger than the small ones near brine disposal wells. An magnitude 4.5 earthquake last December 7th knocked a few items off a shelf at my sister’s home in Oklahoma City.

        http://newsok.com/magnitude-4.5-earthquake-rattles-central-oklahoma/article/3912440

        Oklahoma had a magnitude 5.6 earthquake in 2011 that was strong enough to cause some damage, but Virginia had a magnitude 5.8 earthquake the same year.

      • 0 avatar
        carve

        Fracking generally occurs far below the water table, and far above major fault lines in the crust. There are probably certain circumstances where it could pollute the water or cause a small earthquake as the ground settels, but overall this seems to be one of the least polluting energy extraction techniques out there.

        That said, we really need breeder reactors and thorium reactors for our base load.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          That argument is too vague and relies on too many assumptions. Geologists are constantly finding new fault lines where none were known before. Additionally, the central region of the US is past due for a MAJOR earthquake–of the sort that created Reelfoot Lake.

          We simply can’t rely on the argument that the water won’t go deeper than intended, considering how any crack in the strata can let it flow downward, nor can we rely on the chemicals not leeching back upwards due to things like the capillary effect by which fluids are known to oppose gravity. There are simply too many unknowns to say for certain that fracking is safe or not. So-called ‘circumstantial evidence’ right now at least implies that fracking is doing more harm than good.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      Except I am down here in North Dallas which last time I checked was pretty Republican. I watch the news and see the residents of areas where fracking is going on in Texas and Oklahoma freaking out about the earthquakes they are constantly getting and Denton which is once again last time I checked very Republican is talking about banning fracking now.

      Even the CEO of Exxon who once again, I am pretty sure is a Republican, has joined in on a lawsuit to prevent fracking near his personal home here in Texas.

      Maybe you should come down here and see how well these guys that work in this industry live. Six figure cars roam around here and Oklahoma like Camrys. You ever thought that might be the reason that gas costs $4 a gallon?

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Waingrow

      bigtruck, as a satirist, you’ve still got a ways to go. It is satire, isn’t it?

    • 0 avatar
      Elena

      With mandatory health insurance cost, not even 4 cyl econoboxes: scooter or bicycle.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Bigtruck wrote, “I pray that a better Republican gets into office and unleashes America’s energy infrastructure.”

      From an Independent’s political point of view, that is highly unlikely because the Republicans have no candidates that appeal to Independents. And it is the Independents like myself who make or break elections.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        @highdesertcat

        Tell that to Romney. Independents no longer decide elections, apparently.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          TW5, I know what you mean. People have to show up at the poling place and actually vote for it to count, and so few Independents decided to even show up to vote in the past three elections.

          There have been times when I have been called to work at one of our poling places by a judge or poling official and I’m always surprised at who does not show up by the end of voting day. Some prominent folks! Pillars of the community.

          The list of names of those who chose not to vote is always substantial. And I know many of these people.

          It is MY opinion, based on my knowledge of these people and their lack of attendance at the poling place, that more and more people are withdrawing from supporting the election process, having lost faith in both major political parties.

          I have heard political strategists say the same about the nationwide turnout.

          We can always expect a heavy turn out of party loyalists, on both sides, but the others, not so much. And there are many, many others who do not turn out.

          It’ll be a crapshoot this November but maybe most Independents have reconciled themselves with the thought that one is as bad as the other and have sought their nirvana in different ways, like taking all their cash out of the bank.

          • 0 avatar
            Master Baiter

            Even if only 20% of the population voted, statistically that’s a huge sample size; it’s highly unlikely the outcome would be different than if everyone voted.

            They take polls of a few thousand voters and usually come up with the right answer.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “Better Republicans” are very few and far between.

    • 0 avatar
      Krivka

      The tracking process poisons ground water. That is indisputable. Water is a FINITE resource. That is also indisputable. The brine that is the waste in the tracking process is pumped back into unused wells (Ohio is a main dump) and the injection of the brine causes earthquakes. It is also indisputable. Ohio is a Republican state and has stopped the injection of waste brine. As far as wells being rendered useless, I know of three families that have to truck in water after their wells failed (methane and pollutants). There are hundreds others that I do not personally know. Water can’t be replaced, ever. There is never going to be another drop sent to earth. Natural Gas competes with coal, both industries are fighting for water to pollute. Coal companies and Natural gas producers fro not pay fore their water at the a same rate as consumers. Frackers should make sure they can make the water cleaner than it was when they received it for use. When they do that, I will support them. There are ways that water is not used to frack, Gasfrac is one company that developed a system. Your Republican Murica’ is filed with ignorant rednecks. Mine isn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        xtoyota

        Krivka:
        IT MUST BE TRUE I red it on the internet……. Bonjour :=)

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        Krivka,

        You DO know that real life isn’t an episode of Captain Planet, where flamboyantly EEEEEVIL corporations deliberately pollute, just for the hell of it, right?

        I read somewhere, a long time ago, that one of the reasons that environmentalists think the natural world is about to keel over and die is because most of them live in San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC or Los Angeles. Completely paved-over islands of modernity where there’s lots of ugliness and garbage.

        If they actually drove at least an hour away from these places, they’d see that the continent is mostly covered with trees and grass.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          One Alpha, I’m not going to get too involved with this lovely political poop-flinging, but I’ve got problems with both your statements. First, if you think green surface cover is all it takes to constitute a healthy ecosystem, then you’ve got a whole lot of reading to do before you can make an informed argument on the matter.

          Second, there are corporations that deliberately pollute because it is economically advantageous for their given situation and they don’t believe they will get caught. One in our area just did get caught. We’ve also got an active company with a superfund site on their property for groundwater pollution, and a defunct mining company that dumped a bunch of uranium-laden tailings next to a river before going under and footing the US taxpayer with the removal costs.

          I don’t think the private sector is evil, I don’t think industry is evil, but I know damn well there are horrible people intentionally doing things to harm the public for their own benefit, and that it will continue to happen because people are people. Those who rely on groundwater deserve to view fracking with a weary eye.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        “Water is a FINITE resource.”

        I guess you’ve never seen planet Earth from space.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      BigTruck – What earthquakes you ask BT ? Why …. all those in Western Kansas as well as Eastern Colorado that have been confirmed by the USGS . And ahhh … hows about the 20 or so in Western Penn…. once again BT … confirmed by the USGS . Shall we have a peak at upper State NY and the multiple earthquakes there … once again … confirmed by the USGS ?

      Why … golly gee BT … when you actually DO the research … theres a whole slew of them to be found almost everywhere Fracking exists .

      Want the Truth About Fracking rather than all the blind propaganda you’ve been fed by Big Oil interests BT ? Heres the Truth . Lets see if you can handle it .

      Simply stated …. No One Has a Fracking Clue what the long and or short term consequences of Fracking are . No One ! Anyone trying to make a clear case for either side is a liar . The only thing we DO know is that to date Fracking has caused several geological and environmental problems as it is being performed at the present

      As a personal service to you BT and in light of your constant rantings I feel I need to be the first to tell you that ;

      1) John Galt is a fictional not a historical character
      2) ” Atlas Shrugged ” … is a fictional novel … not a book of history
      3) Ayn Rand was a delusional psychopath who popped more pills than Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck combined
      4) Rush Limbaugh – Glen Beck et al are NOT newscasters – reporters – experts – educated or knowledgable . They are TV-Radio personalities/talking heads whos sole purpose in life is to generate ratings for the advertisers … not communicate facts or the truth

      I know thats a lot to digest for one such as yourself BT . But somebody needed to do it … and it might as well be me

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      That’s not America, that’s not even Mexico!

      yuletyde.com/uploads/1/8/8/7/18873606/5667804.jpg?245

      Seriously though, what are the geological implications of fracking BTSR?

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      I work with earthquakes and yes, fracking causes them. Small ones, though. Small enough that I wouldn’t expect them to matter.

      An earthquake is caused by differential movement of the ground along a fault that happens when the pressure on the fault exceeds the static friction holding the pieces in place. A fault is just a crack in the bedrock. In fracking, you actively seek out a fault and pump it full of fluids to make it big enough to release the gas below. That not only adds pressure to the fault, it actually requires movement to happen in order for the natural gas to find a way out. There’s no way to frack without causing tiny earthquakes.

      But I don’t see it as a danger. For the time being, we aren’t capable of adding enough pressure to cause large earthquakes that weren’t already on the verge of happening. And it’s only marginally true that lots of little earthquakes will make the next big one smaller. Magnitude is logarithmic. It takes 100 M3.0 quakes in the same place to expend the same energy that goes into an M5.0. A swarm of 100 tiny earthquakes is common, but it’s usually a chain reaction from micro-fault to micro-fault, rather than one fault slipping that many times.

      tl;dr: fracking causes numerous insignificant earthquakes

  • avatar

    “Fatalities in some areas have quadrupled, even as overall traffic deaths in the country as a whole have decreased.”

    #1 North Dakota and Texas have roads that are long and ungoverned and I believe people are more likely to be speeding from point A -to- point B.

    #2 Fracking requires BIG TRUCKS to ship in seawater. In some parts of Texas, there are droughts which means that a “retaining pool” has to be constructed, filled with water (by the trucks) and used to help the fracking.

    Corporations have the money to ship in the money and build the retaining pools. Those pools usually are contaminated with Hydrogen Sulfide which means no one will be able to use that water for personal purposes.

    Most towns with hydro fracking end up abandoned.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      1) Accidents have increased over their previously recorded numbers on those roads. That doesn’t exactly work with your assumption.

      2) They clearly pointed out that it was the massive increase in heavy truck traffic that accounts for this suddenly higher accident rate.

      The point is that as far as those corporations are concerned, the cost of doing this is balanced by the higher price they’re able to demand for the oil recovered, and who gives a hoot about the environmental side effects?

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Your last sentence is out of bounds, unsubstantiated, and backwards. What industry do you work in? Let’s have a go at your livelihood. I am assuming you have something to do other than poorly executed liberal hackery.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      “#1 North Dakota and Texas have roads that are long and ungoverned and I believe people are more likely to be speeding from point A -to- point B.”

      That’s really bad news, imo – it strengthens the argument for speed limits and their enforcement.

      • 0 avatar
        Andy

        Can’t get cops. You can’t get qualified people to do the public service jobs. They don’t pay enough. You can also put up all the speed limit signs you want, the water haulers will just knock them down. If you live out here you understand that joke/truth.

        Everything you *think* should work in Western ND to solve problems doesn’t work. You will go nuts trying to quick fix it and leave, it happens every day.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Nothing changes unless you name names to the right people. Get your neighbors to identify the bad actors and report them to the oil companies through public relations, safety, and or government affairs. The operating companies are usually quick to react.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Go lawyers! You guys rock. Who needs pumps? We should just have you guys suck the oil directly out of the ground.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Booze, drugs and overloaded roads in Boomtown. News at 11.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    So here is the typical problem.

    The areas now seeing the new activity are very rural with at best a shoulder, but often not. Previously, you could pass a slower vehicle without much care since the odds of a third vehicle were pretty low already. Typical country roads with a mix of courteousy and carelessness on display.

    Now there are lots and lots of big trucks. The careless see one and MUST pass it, even if it’s going the limit. The big truck coming the other way can’t avoid in time. Traffic may be up only 40%, but it’s almost all really heavy trucks that crush passenger cars like cans. And, it’s on roads that aren’t designed for the new amounts of traffic. The oil companies are usually in a hurry to settle as are their contractors because bad publicity is really bad for them due to the ability of all levels of government to harass them.

    The locals are rightly upset and frustrated having their lives interrupted with all this activity. Not all of them are getting rich off of it, and not all of them would choose the money given a choice. A Darwinian process is now acting on people near the activity. Those patient enough to wait for the trucks and wait for the activity to slow will come out the other side better off. The impatient would do best to relocate.

    Interesting though is that fracking for oil is unnecessary. We could choose to allow drilling off of all our coasts. Shallow off shore is a known science which is now incredibly safe. But, we choose to push the drillers into fracking on private lands instead.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Mother of all NIMBYs now that new nukes are verboten.

    But, I mean, what else are places like North Dakota and Texas *for*?

  • avatar
    Morea

    Re: Fracking and earthquakes

    A new concept is to use of fracking technology to inject water into faults to relieve locally built up tectonic stress. Injecting water will change the stick-slip properties of the fault and allow the plates to slide by each other more smoothly reducing the chance for a large earthquake. The difficulty is where to inject. Current mathematical models of quake prone areas (eg., California, which is heavily studied) are not accurate enough yet to decide where to inject the water and to predict that if stress is relieved in one place will it just built up faster to dangerous levels elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Can’t wait for that monumental fk up. Oops. Sorry Southern California. San Dimas? I meant San Diego…

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        ” Can’t wait for that monumental fk up. Oops. Sorry Southern California. San Dimas? I meant San Diego… ”

        So that means I’ll have a beachfront property , COOL ! .

        Or , maybe Altadena , above me , will get the new beach…..

        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I look forward to this aspect of climate change as well. My place is right on a low ridge about 3mi from the Atlantic. Sea level rise of about 30ft and I will have beachfront property!

          And I can think of nowhere on earth more deserving of a cosmic flush than Florida. Frack away!

  • avatar
    Dan

    I wonder how much of this has to do with heavy on-road equipment on newly busy rural roads without shoulders.

    And how much of it has to do with the demographic shift of bringing in thousands of mostly young, blue collar men and paying them enough to buy fast cars.

    Either way, it beats buying it from thugs like Maduro.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Yep Dan, it sure does. Also, from others who despise their customers and use the proceeds to undermine and destroy them.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      I haven’t looked at the data, but the story I described above is being repeated here because many of the companies are here. If Billy Bob wraps his car around a tree, no one here talks about it. If a company man kills someone it gets talked about by everyone, if a local kills himself by hitting a work vehicle it gets talked about a lot, and if an employee kills himself while driving on his own time it is still an issue because unlike most industries, the corporate players in energy actually see that as a safety issue for themselves and do something about it.

      When I worked in tech, the Silicon Valley liberals gave a rats ass if they actually drove someone to suicide or heart attack. They would usually pay for a counseling benefit, but unless someone was a victim of some celebrated cause sort of malady, they better not use it because they would be sidelined quickly if not hounded out of the company for it.

  • avatar
    imag

    I can see Baruth clicking post thinking, “this ought to be good”.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Oh, yeah, Der Meisterpusher von Buttonburg, fer sher.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It IS good! It is controversial and the lines are clearly drawn between those who welcome the use of our own energy, IOW energy-independence, and those who want America to recede back into agrarianism, hug trees and copulate with Mother Nature all the live-long day.

      But I’m stretching to see how this intersects with, or even relates to, The Truth About Cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “copulate with Mother Nature”

        I love Earth Mother types :-D

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        You are here and talking about copulation and oil HDC, so Jack must be doing something right. Since when have oil and sex been unrelated to cars?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          thelaine, I stand corrected!

          And, yes, I do have very fond memories of growing up in Huntington Beach, CA, and the stained back seat of my old, old ’49 Buick when I was in HS.

          The oil part of it came in a tiny jar of Vaseline.

          Growing up/near the beach though was fraught with peril all its own.

          There was more than one occasion where someone yelled out, “Who put the sand in the Vaseline jar!?”

          Then it was off to the Thrifty Drug store for a new tiny jar of Vaseline.

          Ahhhhhh, the Rhythm method of old……

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            See HDC? Jack knows what he’s doing. He made the old cat smile this morning.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            thelaine, naw, it was the two giant spicy sausage biscuits with egg, Mozzarrella, Jalapeno slices and Tabasco sauce I fixed for breakfast this morning.

            It wasn’t a smile. It was a grimace.

            I’m still enjoying the waves of hot flashes. No doubt I will enjoy it for days.

            Even a 20oz iced-latte hasn’t cooled things off yet.

            I feel like the pilot of a burned-out jet laying in my easy chair, holding my Dell 27″ XPS All-in-one on my lap, typing on the on-screen keyboard.

            Should have done this long ago. It sure beats the iPad!

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            I fear the worst is yet to come HDC. Talk about environmental disasters…

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            thelaine, oh, yeah. That’s what I meant by ” No doubt I will enjoy it for days.”

            Worst part of all this is I shot off my mouth at the last boys-night-out poker party and said I would host a dinner (of their choice) for the guys and their wives at my house if someone could beat the hand I was holding (at that moment).

            Someone did. And tonight is the night. So today I will be making Chicken, Shrimp and Pork Pad Thai for 20, and all the trimmings, with Tiramisu for dessert.

            I made the Tiramisu last night and used Lady Fingers layered in a 13X18 deep baker’s pan, instead of cake, so it was a breeze.

      • 0 avatar
        xtoyota

        This site is sounding more like AUTOBLOG crap
        Way to political
        Lets keep this site about cars

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Thank you HDC for the ultra-conservative talking points because normally we just like to use non-fossil fuels that are supposedly insanely costly (but don’t actually cost much more than 30-40% more and all of that is upfront) and are also unreliable (though any cursory view of actual data disproves that). I’m sure all of us want an agrarian lifestyle when by and large it appears that the voting coalitions that makeup your self-vaunted side is decidedly more rural and agrarian while my own side is technological and urban. I’ve yet to meet Mother nature in a copulative form, but if I do I may, but that’s between me and her pro-choice body.

        As for what it has to do with cars….Nothing. TTAC knows their bread is buttered in getting their political arguments going for traffic driving.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Xeranar, there’s nothing conservative about me and nothing liberal or progressive either. I think for myself.

          The only thing that concerns me is if it works for me, or not.

          If it works for me, I use it, and if it doesn’t work for me, I don’t use it.

          While I am generally pro-life, I did pay for an abortion in Juarez, Mexico, for my wife’s niece when she got knocked up by a black kid in Chicago after being raped at a party there.

          And so it is with my energy and fuel usage. I use what works for me, even if it greatly pollutes the atmosphere, like my AC generators do when I kick them on at 12-noon each Sunday.

          I completely understand about “TTAC knows their bread is buttered in getting their political arguments going for traffic driving” yet the same commenters who p!ss, moan and complain when another commenter strays off-topic and into the political realm, are strangely silent on this one.

          Could there be a double standard? Say it isn’t so!

          Or is it that the complainers find that this political topic is more in line with their own beliefs and that therefore it merits a strong response (either way)?

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            The realist argument comes out. You favor conservative policies, whether you would consider yourself a partisan is of no consequence, your practical identity is as such.

            Beyond that, you know I never complain about politics on here, this is probably my favorite source for conservative views simply because the views expressed here are more nuanced in a practical way. I could go read the right-wing spin comments but those bore me, so I take these in stride.

            Though I have begun to believe you’re our modern age Jay Gatsby with your disturbing jet setting and such.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        highdesertcat – that is a complete and utter straw man.

        Renewable energy folks are absolutely advocating for energy independence. Remember those crazy liberals saying that we should build solar and wind instead of going to war in the Middle East for oil?

        Using renewables (and even Thorium) doesn’t mean returning to agrarianism. It is about investing in our future rather than borrowing from it. Some of us give a crap about the next generation.

  • avatar
    GMat

    “A world in which the leading petrostate is a liberal democracy,”

    We are a Republic Sir, a Republic.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      In name only. The U.S. is, and always has been, an oligarchy.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      “A liberal democracy may take various constitutional forms: it may be a constitutional republic, such as France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, or the United States, or a constitutional monarchy, such as Japan, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, or the United Kingdom. It may have a presidential system (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, the United States), a semi-presidential system (France and Russia), or a parliamentary system (Australia, Canada, India, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom).”

      Thus endeth the lesson in basics.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      The problems really started when we closed the frontier, and without an outlet, all the restless energy that built Western Civilization had nowhere to go and turned on itself.

      Within a generation, we had a Federal income tax, a world war and nobody was able to stop Vladimir Lenin from getting international communism off the ground.

      We laugh at the Victorians, but they were a civilization in a state of ascendancy. Can we say the same about ourselves?

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Nope. LBJ nailed that coffin shut.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Ever read a biography of that guy?

          A lying, sociopathic whack-job from grade school on up. A world-class prodigy of twisted talent.

          IOW, a consummate politician.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Years ago, probably 20 now. Probably Caro. It was mostly about his path to the presidency, from what I recall. Yeah, Clinton, love him or hate him, was a master politician. LBJ would have fertilized his roses with him and put Hillary on the domestic staff.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Absolutely fascinating, though. Completely agree.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            A world-class political hack Texan who was Hell on tailors with his demands for extra inseam so that”his boys” could roam free and breathe.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Federal Income Tax – Instituted because until then the Federal government sold land to cover their annual costs. They borrowed and paid debts back. The world by then was far more urban and in practical terms needed more government intervention to handle that uptick.

        A World War – We weren’t involved in and in many cases actually armed with our massive weaponry tech. I say weren’t involved in because we entered it late and didn’t really have a good reason to join except to end the war for the sake of our Anglo-American leadership’s friendship.

        International Communism – Actually the US was there fighting Lenin shortly after WWI. We had troops actually in Russia at the time, not many but they were in fact there. In general, what business is it of ours to stop another country’s chosen political and economic form? Not to mention that Keynesian economics shares a great deal with Marxism and is why we have such a high living standard today.

        As for the Victorians, nobody laughs at them for their technology, they laugh at them for being prudish and obtuse in their understandings of sociology and psychology. If you think life in Victorian times was grand you are either nostalgic or a fool. At least choose a period that would be relevant to our society since statistically unless you’re a WASP you would likely hold little status in that era.

        Not to mention the fact that your argument is a historical fallacy in its most mundane form. That somehow a prior formation of our society was greater. If I showed a Victorian today outside of perhaps some racist inclinations and some prudish moments they would by all means be blown away by our society.

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          No, Xeranar, Keynesian economics and Marxism are the reasons that we don’t have a higher standard of living today.

          The Victorian world WAS arguably more advanced than the modern world. What you call “prudish” was a strong sense of moral clarity, one that we “enlightened” moderns lack.

          The British Empire would have had absolutely no qualms about going after groups like Boko Haram and MAKING EXAMPLES OF THEM.

          They knew from experience that the only way to keep Mohammedan savages from causing trouble was a show of strength and resolve, and put a boot in their ass if they tried anything.

          The Victorians took the light of civilization to all the dark and savage corners of the world, Christianized them and taught them to live like dignified human beings.

          They built a world that functioned very well.

          A world where men didn’t apologize for being men. A world that called a spade a spade. A world that was proud of itself and didn’t apologize for its cultural superiority.

          A world that didn’t care about pollution, health, safety, diversity or a person’s feelings. A world that demanded results and got them.

          The Old World created the automobile, the metal-hulled steamship, the airplane, the suspension bridge, the skyscraper, the semiautomatic rifle and the telephone.

          Now compare that to the Modern World, which counts among its soaring accomplishments the company diversity officer, the autism diagnosis, the no-fault divorce, the environmental regulation, the hate speech law, the birth-control pill, the militant atheist, the class-action lawsuit and the metrosexual.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Moral clarity is at best a subjective view. The fact that you weren’t even born in that era suggests you’re yearning is at best a nostalgic look back. The social mores you grew up under were looser than victorians and while mine are more progressive than your’s (assuming you’re of a boomer or older generation) doesn’t make them any more or less good for society.

            As for Boko Haram? I’m not sure, if anything since they were native women of the land the British Empire may try to shut down the militia to protect their colonial interests but beyond that they would be unlikely to intervene. If anything Victorians were colonialists so they were just likely to be the oppressors as any kind of liberator.

            The fact you call them savages pretty much makes the point that you’re of questionable ethical standing to argue at this point. Then you call them ‘dark’ which further points towards this racist ideological stance that Christianity is the only acceptable view to have. I’m fairly sure even amongst the far-rights you’re going to have trouble getting support for that one.

            Men could be men? In the Victorian era men were actually expected to limit their exposure to the sun, wear white gloves when dealing with certain unclean items, and act in a dignified way. If you want to sell Machismo you’re in the wrong era, the elite men of that time were hardly outdoors men in any sense you and I would understand. As for the spade…who knows? Going on to cultural superiority, I’m pretty sure we’re still ardent nationalists who declare our own culture superior still, we just don’t flaunt it in everybody’s face and being American our culture has been so adjusted and ameliorated that it is hard to argue just what it was originally not to mention our historical evolution to an universal suffrage system.

            Pollution – Because they didn’t quite understand the consequences.

            Health – and people died because of those consequences. That is why the beloved pastoral areas were so sought after because cities and industrial zones were so polluted.

            Safety – Not to mention the loss of limbs, death, and the complete disregard for cleanliness in food and other situations. People died of simple bone breaks in the Victorian era still.

            The old world did not create the automobile unless we’re going to just refer to the idea of Benz’s invention. The progressive era took it from a novelty to an item of use.

            The Airplane is a Progressive Era invention (1903) and is an American item as is the metal-hulled steamship (USS Monitor) though it is technically victorian.

            The first suspension bridge actually dates back to the Colonial period and is also American.

            The first skyscraper (as we would understand it) is also Progressive Era and American (Rand McNally Building).

            The semi-automatic rifle and pistol are both Progressive era and generally considered American. If you want to talk about repeating rifles they’re American and from the Victorian Era.

            The Telephone is again…American and Victorian.

            So lets go down the list:

            Diversity Officer – Not required, just usually a person designed to provide better diversity. We’ve already established you’re probably a racist so lets just move on.

            Autism Diagnosis – Because it didn’t exist in the past, right? Congratulations, you failed basic medical diagnosis 101.

            The no-fault divorce – Something fought for by men. I’m not sure how allowing people to separate without their being a serious offense is a bad thing.

            Environmental Regulation – So you can’t dump toxic waste in my drinking water, how tragic…

            Hate Speech laws – We actually don’t really have those here for the most part. What we have is social minorities pushing back to gain their rights as an individual. The Federal and state laws rarely outright ban or preempt hate speech (see Skokie Nazis).

            Birth Control Pill – Again, not sure what the issue is, that women can control their ovulation cycle? You have to be a troll at this point…There is no way you’re a living breathing troglodyte of a person.

            The Militant Atheist – Atheists were around back then and probably just as vocal if we’re to believe the authors of some of the most famous tracts on human existence.

            Class-Action Lawsuit – It’s a group suit and its been legal since 1200 AD/CE. It really isn’t any less or more common than today but more national entities exist so they wrong more people in a single move which breeds more lawsuits. In other words: Fewer multi-national and national conglomerates = fewer Class Action suits.

            Metrosexual – They were called Dandies and were just as common back then. If anything your vaunted Victorian Era is where the Metrosexual identity really has root in. That the upper class tried to appear as trendy and not necessary emasculated but certainly indifferent towards a working-class identity you purport to support which is definitively not Victorian in form.

            I rarely get to use my History, that was pleasure to school you over.

  • avatar
    Eliyahu

    Since it was the Economist, they’re probably talking about Saudi Arabia. As to the fracking, it’s caused by lubricious activities of lobbyists and politicians.

  • avatar
    dartman

    For those that are interested great animations of Drilling operations:
    http://www.oerb.com/Default.aspx?tabid=237

    The US Oil & Gas Industry leads the world in technology, safety and produces the highest paying jobs in the US/world. The unconventional oil plays will make the US Energy self-sufficient with no need to import crude oil (including Canadian tar-sands) by 2020. If congress changes the law the US may begin to actually export crude oil which is currently illegal. The US does export refined products including gasoline. Newsflash: In today’s market the price of gasoline has very little to do with the price and availability of crude oil. The refiner’s and retailer’s are charging $4/gallon because people will pay it.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Imagine how much cheaper many things would be if we banned their export. Imagine if you were not allowed to export your own labor or property out of your neighborhood. Wonder how fair most people would find that?

      It’s a great scheme, lobby the government to keep your input costs down so you can make more profit on your products.

      Lastly, I doubt anyone is selling gas for $4. That’s the price after tax. The taxes are much, much more than the profits.

      • 0 avatar
        dartman

        The ban on US exports was the result of the 1973 Arab oil embargo and the ensuing fuel shortaqes, the US government, rightfully so IMO, determined it was in our national security interest to keep US produced crude oil in the US. Since refiners were already importing crude to produce end products and had excess capacity the exportation of those products was allowed. Times change. Technology has provide us with a means of producing more than we need, which is in demand elsewhere in the world. The only reason to oppose exportation is on political/environmental reasons.

        You are correct on the actual cost of refined gasoline at the wholesale level. Current NorCal prices for gasoline is about $4.25/gallon and falling. (the costs associated with seasonal refining change over are done) This price includes about .69 cents in taxes leaving a retail price of about $3.56/gallon. For most people the end user price is the key metric and and all parties are well aware of what that is.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Hmmm… let’s think about this one, Landcrusher…
        “Imagine if you were not allowed to export your own labor or property out of your neighborhood.” — you mean like American jobs and manufacturing tools? I had my own job shipped to Mexico in exactly that manner. I sure didn’t feel like it was “fair”, would you?

        “Lastly, I doubt anyone is selling gas for $4. That’s the price after tax. The taxes are much, much more than the profits.” — Another case of willful ignorance, because in some parts of the US gasoline prices are at or above that $4 mark–on a mere 20¢ per gallon tax. That tax is much, much LESS than the profits, when you discover that Exxon/Mobile constantly crows about making $50Billion in profits every year. Meanwhile, our highways and other infrastructure are falling apart.

        And Dartman, I’m paying $3.89/gallon for mid-grade gas because my engine doesn’t run well on regular. I’ve tried for years to get my ’08 Jeep Wrangler to run smoothly and efficiently on 87 Octane and the engine sounds like a diesel all the time and doesn’t want to do better than 21mpg. I put 89-90 Octane in and it runs smoothly and gives me 23mpg under the same conditions. Some of the newer engines, like Ford’s EcoBoost twin turbo models, REQUIRE 93 or better Octane, which runs over $4 per gallon here in the northeast. In fact, even diesel runs in the high $3s, low $4s, eliminating any economical advantage to the higher fuel mileage diesel engines offer.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Vulpine,
          On your job, I can certainly empathize with being laid off. What I don’t know in your situation was whether or not it was fair. Since employment taxes on your labor alone are outrageous, I suspect it was unfair, but then I suspect you support taxes on labor so I dunno.

          I call BS on your tax claim. 20 cents profit per gallon would be enough for me to go into the gas station business. The fed tax is nearly 20 cents per gallon alone. What state takes less than 20 cents per gallon nevertheless a penny? You accuse me of willful ignorance, once again reading my mind, and you have it all wrong yourself. Show some class and apologize or lose whatever credibility you might have been able to salvage.

          Also, what companies with even nearly the revenues of Exxon make less margin and/or pay more taxes on a regular basis? Let’s go with the Fortune 50. Name them please.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Apple.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            ExxonMobil
            Income tax expense: 31b
            Earnings before taxes: 78.73b

            Apple
            Income tax expense 14b
            Earnings before taxes: 55.96b

            So now you have been caught wrong twice. BTW, did you get your info from Mother Jones? It came up in my google search making your point, but I went with a less partisan source – USA Today. If you want a list of state fuel taxes Wikipedia has one. You were off by a factor of 3.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    “The refiner’s and retailer’s are charging $4/gallon because people will pay it,”
    Don’t pay it, buy Tesla.
    Gasoline pump prices are driven mainly by the spot price of crude on the world market. Those changes are cost increases or decreases to refiner purchase prices and are quickly passed on to inventories via LIFO and to refined gasoline and to the local gas station. Increases are quick and decreases sticky because the local gas station is part of an oligopoly. One gas station decreases cost by 1 cent per gallon and the adjacent station does the same.
    The other cost driver is refinery fires and maintenance/repair downtime.
    Count on Government “management” of gasoline as it did 1979 – 1980.

  • avatar
    dartman

    Really? Which spot price? Brent or WTI? The key to my statement was “in today’s market” Refining has been the “poor sister” or “red-headed stepchild” of the industry with low margins and volatile cost swings because of instability in the markets; i.e the mid-east. Thanks to Eagle Ford in Texas, Bakken in ND and the natural gas plays in PA and elsewhere much of the instability in the US market has been removed. Liquified natural gas plants being built on on the gulf coast to export cheap US natural gas to other parts of the world will improve our trade deficits. Almost every US electrical generating station is or has converted to clean burning cheap natural gas. Sorry coal miners.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    1. Tesla is a rich man’s sports car.
    2. What you don’t know is the US is exporting 3,137,000 bpd of REFINED GASOLINE in 2012 nearly double from 1.7 mbpd in 2008. Under federal law crude oil cannot be exported but refined products can. For contrast the Saudis at their height could pump +/- 10 mbpd of crude oil.

    Not exporting all of the fracked oil being created would halve the spot price in a weekend.

    http://www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/IEDIndex3.cfm?tid=5&pid=54&aid=4

  • avatar
    dartman

    Texas’ oil production has doubled in the last 3 years and is still rising with estimates of 4 mbpd by 2015–“Saudia Texas” indeed….

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/economic-intelligence/2014/02/19/shale-oil-brings-big-wealth-to-texas

    p.s. The political and religious views of the government in both places are very similar–that’s why this Texan lives in Cali!

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Fracking causes earthquakes.

    RIIIIGHT.

    Just like the Large Hadron Collider was going to open a black hole and destroy the earth.

    Can someone please tell me how these anti-technology, earth-worshippers can keep making these insane statements, have them almost universally proven wrong, and yet still have even the tiniest shred of credibility?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      They have no credibility. They desperately want credibility to advance their illegitemate agenda but the vast majority of people outside the current administration isn’t listening to them.

      Welcome to the new America where we are mandated by the administration the majority voted for to tolerate sexual deviants, miscreants, incoherent freedom of speech, and reversion to agrarianism.

      It’s the epic of Gilgamesh and Enkidu all over again.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    All we need to do is make “them” clean up the pollutants? A prerequisite is to know which pollutants you can attribute to “them” which requires disclosure of the chemical cocktail itself. 1

    http://www.amednews.com/article/20120827/government/308279957/1/

    But why bother, because we all know Fracking is harmless:

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-fracking-lawsuit-20140424-story.html

    Of course if you’re a faith over science type,

    http://www.salon.com/2014/02/27/former_oil_exec_calls_exxon_ceo_out_on_his_hypocritical_anti_fracking_lawsuit/

    1 – I guess we can watch and see whether the EPA is a captured agency, like the FCC, SEC …
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-09/epa-considers-requiring-disclosure-of-fracking-chemicals.html

  • avatar
    Andy

    The article is about accidents! Dickinson North Dakota resident here…….. I also run a business that employs 23 drivers that covers all of SW North Dakota and includes a lot of oil activity.

    Western ND is a wild place. As in unsettled and year round horrible weather events.

    Most of the residents are new, walk down the parking lot at Walmart and you can see where all the bad economies are in the united states by the license plates.

    The infrastructure was for ranchers and farmers and the low oil activity that was always here.

    The environment is probably the biggest factor. Wanna see a ND winter? Watch The Empire Strikes Back. Now stick people from the south out there on the roads and watch the carnage. Think its over when the snow goes away? Nope. Its mud season. And truthfully? I prefer the ice. The mud is a living monster that eats everything.

    A lot of these new residents are desperate people. They have left nearly ruined lives elsewhere and are attempting to salvage them with high paying jobs here. They carry around what I call “North Dakota stress”. They live in campers, they have terrible lives back home and are struggling with the costs here while trying to send or save money for home.

    In western ND there is a total lack of work experience. From cutting hair, to working on the rigs, trucking, construction. Everyone is new and if you live here you have low expectations for quality and timeliness. Lots of mistakes being made.

    So you got weather, new, out of state and stressed out people driving all over the place because we lack infrastructure (retail) and epic weather events constantly and lack of experience.

    Yeah the accidents are bad.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Everyone pretty much done here?

    The banquets guy wants to start turning over this room.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Jack, do you think there is mind space for another series title for these? I’m thinking something like “Air Popped”. I know what to expect when the title starts Housekeeping, Rental Review, Sunday Stories, or Avoidable Contact. Air Popped could be a sign to follow or avoid and deliver value to the readers.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ Jack!…Don’t change a thing. Reading both sides of a debate of this magnitude, is for me, endlessly entertaining.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I think the time for the heavy hand of the law should be used.

    Accidents don’t just occur and shouldn’t be viewed as tolerant as Andy has stated to support progress. Which in this case is just ‘dollars’.

    Just like some who place ‘dollars’ in front of contaminating the local ecology.

    Humans make error in judgment. If there is an increase in accidents due to climate, inadequate infrastructure and education, then the regulatory bodies responsible for traffic, licensing and infrastructure should sit down and come up with a game plan.

    By the sounds of it the first thing to look at is speed limits.

    What kills isn’t speed but the difference in speed. It needs to be reduced. It is apparent that many are exceeding their driving abilities. So, reduce the speed to a limit the carnage, then enforce it with a iron fist.

    Overall driver training and licensing in the US is of a lower standard than many of it’s OECD counterparts. This needs to be addressed.

    Educating drivers to be able to better assess conditions and obey driving regulations will make the roads much safer.

    So, I think driver education, enforcement and ways to modify the use of existing infrastructure is necessary to reduce the road fatalities.

    The problem is the drivers aren’t obeying exist traffic laws and regulations and are exceeding their ability to operate a vehicle safely.

    • 0 avatar
      Andy

      You are just going to have to believe me that its all oil all the time. You can’t get enough cops, you can’t get enough road crews. The oilfield dominates all the people resources.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Nice going, Jack. If you want 100+ comments on a weekend, you picked the right topic. I’ll pass, since I’ve learned that far too many people on both sides of this issue have allowed their opinions to metastize into religious dogma.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    This whole article plays into the anti-intellectual views on the right. That is really all I have to add at this point. They don’t offer anything worth my time and frankly so many people have dispelled it yet they hold so tightly you would think it was their lover and not some obtuse view built on a weak correlation with free trade and then they despise the free trade they get and advocate for….

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      There is balance between the extremes where I think most people are or know that’s where the reality is, but grasping for a conclusion no matter how wrong is comforting when facing the unknown. The best feeling in the world is being absolutely certain

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Fracking is just another mining technique. Almost all mining involves inserting an industrial process into a rural area (or once in a while a built up urban area). There are inevitably what economists refer to as ‘negative externalities’ – i.e. it makes a mess. The mess, whatever it turns out to be, has to be suitably controlled by government dictating the use of ‘best practice’.

    Right now, figuring out the correct ‘best practice’ for fracking is the order of the day. If that drives costs too high to allow the mining activity to happen, so be it. The book on this issue is that this problem is definitely solvable in a world where crude oil sells for $100 USD per barrel or close to it. The Bakken shale and the Permian Basin just happen to be the alpha test sites.

    Recently the Dallas city council passed an ordinance dictating (among other things) that all water used in fracking must be brought in by pipeline. Then wastewater (nasty stuff) has to be moved out by pipeline and properly disposed of in deep wells. Pipelines mean no half-trained truck drivers working 80 hours a week making well over $100k per year speeding down deteriorating country roads.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Whups! What? Jimbob, did you just argue for MORE GOVERNMENT? We can’t go both ways, guy; we either have more controls or less. If we need more controls, we need more money to pay for them. For that we need more taxes, not less. Believe me, without those government controls, those companies would do what they’ve always done–just dumped their waste wherever with no care to what may happen.

      True, SOME might, but ‘doing the right thing’ costs money–money which takes away from profit. Anything that hurts profit needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible–such as a leak from a pipeline, for instance. However, is it profitable to clean up the mess made by that leak? Will anyone know there’s a pool of muck in the woods if nobody ever goes there but company people? Corporations make these kinds of decisions all the time–and I really don’t care which kinds of corporations you look at. Some would rather hide their dirty laundry while others actually do try to do the ‘right thing’ without being told. It becomes pretty obvious when companies have to be fined sometimes billions of dollars in order for the government to clean up their mess.

      And since this is an automotive blog, we’ll even show where auto makers themselves sometimes have a problem with this. I don’t have to name them, they’re in the news even now being told to clean up their act.

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        “Whups! What? Jimbob, did you just argue for MORE GOVERNMENT? We can’t go both ways, guy; we either have more controls or less.”

        It is the Goldilocks principle. You don’t want the porridge too cold or too hot but just right. People who don’t understand that are simple ideologues whose opinions are of little interest in the corridors of power. I used to be a K street lobbyist, so I speak from experience.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          If you’re telling us the truth, JimBob, do please show some of these others that we need a realistic compromise. We simply can’t survive as a nation if we bankrupt our government, though I agree there’s a lot of waste. The problem is that the waste is caused by creating new offices for conditions that current offices could handle. What our government needs is INTEGRATION, not SEGREGATION.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            I am at a loss for words. The lyrics of an old song says it all:

            You know, the landlord rang my front door bell–
            I let it ring for a long, long spell–
            looked through the window, I peeked through the blind, and asked him to tell me what was on his mind.

            He said, “Money, honey!
            Money, honey!
            Money, honey,
            If you wanna get along with me.”

            I was cleaned and skinned and so hard-pressed-
            I called the woman that I love the best–
            I finally reached my baby ’bout a half past three-
            She said, “I’d like to know what you want with me.”

            I said, “Money, honey!
            Money, honey!
            Money, honey,
            If you wanna get along with me.”

            She screamed and said, “What’s wrong with you?
            From this day on, our romance is through.”
            I said, “Tell me, baby, face to face–
            A-how could another man take my place?”

            She said, “Money, honey!
            Money, honey!
            Money, honey,
            If you wanna get along with me.”

            Well, I learned my lesson and now I know–
            The sun may shine and the wind may blow–
            Women may come, and the women may go,
            But before I say I love ’em so,
            I want– money, honey!
            Money, honey!
            Money, honey,

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            And a verse in the Bible says it all:

            “The love of money is the root of all evil”

          • 0 avatar
            darkwing

            Ah, yes — a mistranslation and misrepresentation all too popular with the “who am I to judge?” crowd.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            .

  • avatar
    etho1416

    This article reminded me of a trip on “scenic route six” I took through Pennsylvania a few years ago. The state really pushed it as a great drive. It was pretty e except for the fact that every other vehicle passing you on the curvy often two lane roads with no center divider was a huge truck. I sweetie to never ride that road again since the constant fear of getting crushed by one overwhelmed any abutment of the scenery. I don’t think they push out as a toast destination any longer.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Looks like all of the volatiles have been fracked out of this thread – time to move on to the next one.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    No matter where you stand on the article , there’s a lot of good history and information here in the comments , this is why I so much enjoy TTAC ~ the education gained is truly priceless .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Same with me Nate. Once that you remove the vitrol and name calling, there is some very good information waiting to be extracted from some of these posts.

    Many years ago, like in the late 60s, Caterpillar used to run ads in National Geographic Magazine. The ad -which was of course, for CAT heavy machinery- would explore a polarizing situation, like mining.
    It would lay down the pros and cons, include some opposing views and end with the phrase: “There are no simple solutions, but intelligent decisions.”

    I think that essentially sums it up.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    A bad incident will occur with fracking. All mining has risk associated with it.

    Fracking is similar to other mining. If the price of the commodity drops, the wells shut down production until it’s viable to start production again.

    Unless, like the auto industry there are handouts and subsidies.

    There is quite a significant amount of oil around to frack globally.

    The US’s lead in this area of mining will be challenged in a decade or so as most countries will become more ‘oil’ self sufficient.

    I do know there is a huge field of oil which contains about the same amount of oil as Saudi Arabia in Outback South Australia to be fracked.

    It just isn’t viable to drill for yet.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    The NYC media elitists are appalled that there are new sources of oil, so they bash fracking, etc.

    They want expensive energy, to force people to move to cities, live in Soviet style high rise apts., pay high rises and take mass transit with Union workers, who will go on strike every year, etc,etc,etc

    The AP sux, they write about auto industry as some “evil empire”, at the same time promote Asian makers as ‘saints’

    I’m just ranting incoherently, but sick of AP stories in every news site, why not other sources?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Have you tried BBC or Reuters? They’re actually the same stories, with the same point of view, but the writing is much better.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “They want expensive energy, to force people to move to cities, live in Soviet style high rise apts., pay high rises and take mass transit with Union workers, who will go on strike every year, etc,etc,etc”

      Don’t you mean “American style high rise apartments”? Where were the first high-rise buildings built? Right dead square in Chicago–after the Great Chicago Fire.

      Mass transit? Take a look at Chicago’s elevated railroads–a century old or older.

      Sorry, CL, your argument fails on incorrect data.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        By your logic, since the IRIAF is the only operator of Tomcats in the world, Northrop Grumman takes its orders from the Ayatollah.

        Care to try again?

  • avatar
    dts187

    I live and work right in the Marcellus shale boom. Jack’s article speaks to the most visible impact of fracking. It seems like a new trucking company is forming weekly. The demand has created jobs filled by new and inexperienced drivers. The increased traffic damages the roads and more accidents do occur. A lot of these driver’s get paid per trip or per mile so the allure of results over-shadows common sense and safety.

    There are a lot of misconceptions in the comments on this article. As someone with experience in the industry I’d like to make a couple points:

    – Based on my interactions with some of the bigger companies in the area, environmental health and safety matters. A lot. It does not behoove a company to have a mishap. An unbelievable amount of time and resources go into planning, inspecting, and testing every step of the process. EPA fines are stiff, cleanup costs a lot of money, law suits and legal fees cost a lot of money, PR nightmares cost a lot of money. The name of the game is profit. You make more profit by not having any incidents. Plain and simple.

    – If water or soil becomes contaminated, it’s not due to the actual hydraulic fracturing action. It usually occurs during the support activities. Truck accidents, waste containment breaches, chemical containment breaches, etc are usually the culprit. I know what you’re thinking, it’s still bad and still associated with the industry. I’m not arguing that. But I feel it is important for people to understand that fracking isn’t the boogeyman it is made out to be.

    – The economic impact is astounding. Entire local economies have been resurrected. There are new jobs created in the industry. These jobs pay well and have great benefits. New non-industry jobs are created as an effect. Restaurants are full, hotels are full, property values are up, colleges and vocational schools have increased attendance, new businesses are thriving.

    Like anything else, there are downsides and they cannot be ignored simply because of some positive effects. There are accidents. The environment will be impacted. It is a process invented and carried out by humans. Mistakes will be made. But to think that there is not a concerted effort to mitigate these negatives is ignorant.

    In a perfect world there would be economically viable, readily available sources of sustainable energy that would have zero impact on the environment or individuals. Unfortunately we don’t have that right now.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Amen DTS 187

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Congratulations, dts187, you’ve done what thelaine and Rockcrusher couldn’t do–presented a reasonable argument with valid points. I applaud you. I will not argue with the overall gist of your statement, though I will argue one single point.

      * “- The economic impact is astounding. Entire local economies have been resurrected. There are new jobs created in the industry. These jobs pay well and have great benefits. New non-industry jobs are created as an effect. Restaurants are full, hotels are full, property values are up, colleges and vocational schools have increased attendance, new businesses are thriving.” — In other words, you have a boomtown economy that works great–for now. But will that community be self-sustaining once the ‘mine’ runs dry? While I’m not totally familiar with that specific locale, history shows us that once the resource runs out, the community dies quickly and devastatingly for all residents. Every new business will disappear and possibly even the local farmers and ranchers will be impacted negatively.

      However, as oil shale is a rock, you’re obviously doing more mining than ‘pumping’ if I recall the process correctly. this raises two very different, but related questions:
      1). How long do you expect the ‘vein’ to remain workable?
      2). What is done with the waste rock?

      I can offer a potential use for the ‘tailings’ for road-building purposes (in place of whatever stone is used in the production of asphalt) or if ‘cleaned’, maybe even as landscaping stone or ground fill on highway, railroad or other transportation, construction, etc. infrastructure. Hey, if you’re taking mountains down, you might as well put them to work.

      That doesn’t mean I agree with such massive modification of the local geology, but we’ve pretty much done something of the sort ever since we learned how to make tools; we’re just a lot better at it than we were. The long-term effects of such landscape restructuring may never be known, but local climates near some of the mountain-topping coal mines out east have seen unexpected wind shifts and changes in temperature and rainfall as the mountains have come down. We simply cannot know all the macroscopic effects such projects will have until after there’s no turning back.

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        Unfortunately when the wells go dry, the economic fortune will likely do the same. It is the harsh reality of boom/bust in most natural commodities. The only real hope is that the short-term economic success creates a diversification of industry in the area.

        The initial production of a fracked Marcellus well is astounding but experiences a steep hyperbolic decline after the first year or so of operation. However, the well will continue to produce for 5-10 years. There is still a lot of drilling to do. I’ve seen analyst predictions from 20 to 100 years. It’s tied to so many external forces (government regulations, taxes, etc) it is very hard to estimate.

        There really isn’t much in the way of tailings that are often associated with traditional or strip mining. In fracking, a vertical well is drilled down to the target depth and then several horizontal shafts are drilled. The entire vertical shaft is cased by multiple layers of pipe and cement. Then the actual fracking takes place. A mixture of water, sand, and chemicals is injected into the well bore under pressure which causes very small fracture in the target rock formation. These small fractures allow for the release of the gas/oil. What comes out of the wellbore (outside of the gas/oil) is called flowback. Flowback is the original liquid used for fracturing mixed with whatever small bits of minerals and fluids that are released during the process. This is what’s held in tanks and storage pools until disposal or recycling. The failure of these tanks and storage pools is the most likely cause of contamination. The flowback is either treated and discharged through a waste treatment plant, stored in an underground injection well, or recycled to be used again.

        The surface isn’t affected much at all compared to other extraction practices. Some minor excavation is used to level the area immediately surrounding the wellbore and of course pipeline will be installed around the area under the surface. If any landscape related complications arise, they are usually soil erosion or water pooling issues from the small excavation. These can be remedied pretty easily.

        Once production stops and a site is completely reclaimed (well is cased with cement and covered with dirt. Grass is planted if it was there before, trees/vegetation are planted to prevent erosion, etc) it’s hard to tell that anything happened there at all.

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        Wanted to add:

        In the Appalachian Basin, natural gas drilling has been part of the economy for a long time and has usually played second fiddle to coal mining. It wasn’t until new drilling techniques made production in the Marcellus shale formation more economically viable that the boom started. One result, is a glut of companies and corporations moved in or started up to get in on the action. There were already many long-term fixtures in the area. As the fight for acreage gets more difficult and the cost to drill goes up, more players will drop out and only the leanest, smartest companies will be left. The others will move onto the next booming play. Those left will likely be here for generations to come. The profits won’t be the same, there won’t be as many employed, but there will still be a product sell-able on the market.

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          True. Fracking for either oil or gas is basically a build your own reservoir proposition, so you intentionally build one that drains fast. The production decline rate is huge compared to that of natural reservoirs. The result is you have to continue to drill and frack to maintain enough production to use your above ground infrastructure. This is a good thing for the local economies since it extends the life of the natural resource boom.

          At this point it looks like the biggest as yet imperfectly solved problem is disposing of the very toxic waste water created by the fracking process. Trucking the stuff around on country roads unsettles me just a bit every time I see it.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        One little correction, Vulpine. oil and gas bearing shale is, indeed, rock, but it’s not mined. The Athabaska tar sands must be dug up, but the shale remains in place and is hydraulically fractured, releasing oil and gas to be piped out.

        There is no mining, no tailings to dispose of, and no alteration of the surface. There’s the danger of water table contamination and the possibility of surface spills that has to be regulated closely, but no wholesale surface landscape alteration with typical shale deposits 1k-3k feet down and 600 feet thick.

        You have a point that local economies boom while there’s production and crash when the shale is played out, but that pattern has existed for centuries with all kinds of mining, as well as with industries that move to new locations, and industries that die out.

        The New England textile industry made use of local water power, but left for the south and cheaper oil and gas energy, and lower, non-union wages. A number of farming towns at major crossroads dried up when railroads caused competing centers to spring up, or railroad lines were shut down.

        I’m not sure there’s anything that can be done about that pattern, though some former industrial cities have tried to reinvent themselves as light industrial centers. In densely populated areas, there’s the option of factories being converted to retail and/or residential, but places like the Dakotas will likely see their populations dwindle as the kids grow up and move away. America’s population has been far more mobile than other countries, always on the move for jobs elsewhere.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    JUST REMEMBER IT’S ON THE INTERNET so it must be true……………….
    ………………… Bonjour

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