Monday, 27 October 2014

Fracking’s Slow-Motion Train Wreck Revealed In New Report

Well, turns out the United States' big fracking boom isn't all it's cracked up to be; Big oil will tell us anything to get us on board with their plan of continuing to frack when we should be building sustainable energy solutions. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/10/27/fracking-slow-motion-train-wreck-revealed-new-report/


"... If you are one of those people who smell the stench of bust behind today's fracking-fueled oil and gas boom, the Post Carbon Institute has an early Christmas present for you. In its latest report, the organization makes the case that US shale oil and gas reserves will peak and drop off rapidly, long before officially predicted by the US Energy Information Agency.

The new Post Carbon Institute report is titled "Drilling Deeper: A Reality Check on U.S. Government Forecasts for a Lasting Tight Oil & Shale Gas Boom." It was prepared by the same consultant who correctly predicted that official estimates of oil reserves in California's Monterey Shale 1 formation would fall off the cliff.

[...]

Fracking Boom, Fracking Bust, and The New Ghost Towns

The new Post Carbon report is focused on the impact that shale play estimates have on US energy policy. Press materials for the report also describe the financial symptoms of a bubble that's about to pop.

However, we're more interested in the report's implications for communities and individual property owners that host fracking or fracking wastewater disposal operations.

Those of you who know your Westerns are familiar with the "ghost town" phenomenon of abandoned mining communities that lost their raison d'ĂȘtre once the mining company pulls out.

In real life, the ghost town effect doesn't just mean a loss of employment. It can also saddle the community with a toxic environmental legacy that thwarts new economic activity.

You could make the case that mining boom towns wouldn't have existed in the first place if it wasn't for the mine, so no foul, no harm. But that doesn't apply to the current oil and gas fracking boom. In many areas it is intruding into established communities that already have a firm footing in sectors like agriculture or tourism, or that have the potential for long term economic grown.

The Post Carbon report underscores that the fracking boom is just that: a relatively short-lived boom. Given emerging evidence of the negative impacts of fracking and fracking wastewater disposal, communities that already host a healthy economic platform would be well served to pass on the opportunity to make a quick buck, and focus on more long term, sustainable sources of income.

For those of you new to the topic, those impacts are only just beginning to emerge because for many years fracking (short for hydrofracturing, a longstanding but formerly uncommon method for recovering oil and gas from shale formations) was largely confined to thinly populated areas in the western US, where it attracted little attention from the outside world.

However, a Bush-era exemption from federal water protection regulations has enabled thousands of fracking rigs to blossom in new territory, including the heavily populated northeastern and mid-Atlantic states.

As a result, fracking has become an incendiary issue for some communities, as has fracking wastewater disposal. That's on top of the meta-issue, which is the role of natural gas in climate change...."

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