Union of Concerned ‘Scientists’ frackivists taken to task for willful misrepresentation of facts in Erie, Colorado

erie_header

Erie, CO image from the Govt Facebook Page – click for more.

writes at Energy Indepth:

Local officials in Erie, Colo., are pushing back hard against a national environmental group for misrepresenting the outcome of a failed “ban fracking” campaign in their town. The officials say the Massachusetts-based group has “ignored or misstated” the facts, including a number of scientific analyses posted on the town’s website, and they are demanding to know: “Why did you ignore this information?”

The Union of Concern Scientists in Cambridge, Mass., profiled the Town of Erie in a “toolkit” for anti-energy activists called Science, Democracy and Fracking: A Guide for Community Residents and Policy Makers Facing Decisions over Hydraulic Fracturing. Regular readers of Energy In Depth may recall we have closely tracked events in Erie ourselves (some examples here, here, here, and here).

Among other things, the UCS publication falsely claims that a group of “ban fracking” activists were responsible for negotiating agreements with oil and natural gas companies in 2012 that have been hailed as a “statewide model” and a “thoughtful step forward” in the debate over energy development in Colorado. In reality, the activist group Erie Rising fought those agreements tooth and nail with help from the national “ban fracking” group Food & Water Watch.

Washington, D.C.-based Food & Water Watch even declared Erie “ground zero” of the “national movement” to ban hydraulic fracturing, which is really a ban on domestic oil and gas development, because this technology is essential for developing more than 90 percent of oil and gas wells in Colorado and across the nation. Food & Water Watch opposes negotiated agreements with the energy industry and even tougher regulations. Instead, this group just wants to ban energy development across Colorado and nationwide for ideological reasons.

But in Erie, the “ban fracking” campaign fell flat when Erie town officials investigated the alarmist claims of the activists and found them to be false. Former Erie Mayor Joe Wilson later wrote in a Denver Post column that town officials “sorted fact from fiction, and helped our Board of Trustees drive a hard bargain with oil and gas operators to get the best possible environmental controls” while the activists “mindlessly opposed them.”

Erie Town Administrator A.J. Krieger corrected the record in a scathing July 10 letter to UCS. Krieger and his staff also shared the letter with local officials, environmental advocates, industry representatives, academics and other stakeholders to promote the idea that “factual information serve as the cornerstone of any public discussion of oil and gas activities – including fracking.” Here are some highlights from Krieger’s letter to the UCS Center for Science and Democracy:

“It came as no surprise to us that the Town of Erie was mentioned in your publication. … But what did surprise us is just how much inaccurate information you could squeeze into a mere 128 word article.

We are not sure if you ignored or misstated information readily available to the public. However, what is clear to us is this article does not even meet the most basic criteria including on your “Checklist for Determining Reliable Information” (see page 9 of your publication).

We have taken the time to set the record straight for you and your readers because the Town of Erie values a balanced approach to oil and gas development – one that is protective of human health and the environment while taking into consideration private property rights. …

The Town of Erie has a great story to tell. We are at a loss for why you chose not to dedicate the time to share it accurately with your readers.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.

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80 thoughts on “Union of Concerned ‘Scientists’ frackivists taken to task for willful misrepresentation of facts in Erie, Colorado

  1. This is a subject that interests me very much, both as a Colorado resident whose state may make a lot of money from fracking, and as someone dedicated to the increase and enhancement of life.
    But finding out accurate information is bloody murder, as both sides are extremely biased.

  2. We’ve had fracking in western Colorado for 45 years without a single incident of ground water contamination. If contamination did occur it wouldn’t be from fracking but rather failure of the borehole pipe near the surface.

  3. Fracking is safe. It goes on in Alberta without incident. It is also our best bet on securing our energy future. There’s hardly a province or state that does not have shale gas to be developed.

  4. Call a lie a lie. If it weren’t for the deaf ears and refusal of mainstream media to do a better job of researching these lies the general public wouldn’t be so misinformed. I’d like to believe though that the public is catching on.

  5. Typo in the headline: Conerned should be Cornered.

    These fruitcakes are in my back yard. Let me just say that they have evolved into a distinct species of being of a lower sort. The Longfellow Meeting in Cambridge stopped being a Quaker meeting a long time ago and is now only populated by aliens. Shame, Geo. Fox had many good things to say.

  6. ONe would hope that they learned their lesson. But life teaches us they have not. I doubt they will even tell the truth about Erie, and most assuredly will lie again in the future.

  7. My biggest giggle on the “scientific” phonies, next to AGW is, light a cigarette near them and they go spastic but it is OK to smoke marijuana around them even though the same human organs are endangered by the smoke. Go figure.

  8. So what does this have to do with Climate Change (TM)? Or have I misunderstood the raison d’etre for this website? Is this about demonizing environmentalists just for the sake of demonizing environmentalists? Or more broadly, it this about demonizing enemies of fossil fuels in general? Well, what’s up with that???

    Fracking may be safe as milk. But it does seem to correlate with increased seismic activity.

    @Pathway: my dad was fracking wells back in the ’60s. You are right. It’s nothing new. However, what is new is the composition of the fracking liquids that are used now. In the old days, I believe, fracking was done with the brine water brought up in the wells plus CO2 under pressure. Nowadays, the stuff includes various lubricants, some of which you definitely don’t want in your drinking water. The question is, has the technology reached such a state of perfection that the frackers can be certain it won’t migrate up into the water table many thousands of feet above the injection point? Particularly in light of the aforementioned seismic activity, which may open new fissures leading toward the surface? Beats me. I only know that when chingas of money are involved, niceties like safety and the public welfare take a back seat. The guys who sit atop the corporations that profit from this work, I would be willing to bet, live well away from the oil fields.

  9. As a scientist who works in the oil business I am concerned that we are called biased (ladylifegrows),,,First of all I am a scientist which means I look at all the data and make my own decisions and not what I am told. Oil companies have be hydraulic fracture stimulating wells for 62 years.We don’t put in chemicals that can’t be found in any kitchen. There is not one case in over a million wells where surface waters have been contaminated by as a result of frac’ing. The reason are economy is not going down is the result of cheap energy which is directly a result of Hydraulic fracture stimulation of low permeable rock….shales.

    I discovered this blog site over five years ago and ready it daily because of the scientific approach used by most the contributors.

    We are not biased but scientists that actually research the data.

  10. The question is, has the technology reached such a state of perfection that the frackers can be certain it won’t migrate up into the water table many thousands of feet above the injection point?
    Since no technology is perfect we need to ban all of it. From water purification to agriculture. People die because technology is not perfect. /sarc – just in case you were wondering.

  11. Robert G., I think you are correct re: the economic impact of “cheap energy.” Without it, we might have been in the greater depression now, and only the alarmists cannot appreciate it, despite the fact that shale gas has lowered CO2 emissions.

  12. Pathway has it right. “Environmentalists” are nothing but the radical left, dressed in new clothes. Watermelons is really the best term for them, green on the outside, red on the inside.

  13. Fracing in Colorado started in the 50′s in the giant Rangely field. Those first fracs used crude oil as the carrier and walnut hulls as the proppant. Later, fresh water was thickened using a plant extract called guar so higher concentrations of sand could be carried into the formation. As the formations got deeper and tighter, the fracs got bigger and more sand was carried into the formation.

    There is no way a frac can get to a fresh water formation at the depths we are producing from currently. And, as I have mentioned on this site before; oil companies do not want to frac into water zones for the simple fact they don’t produce any return on their investment. Fracs are expensive.

    Almost all of the chemicals used in a frac can be found in your home and a woman applying makeup one time is exposing herself to more toxins and carcinogens then she will receive from fracing in her lifetime; which is NONE!

    The entire movement to ban fracing is based on a movie produced to generate hysteria. Not a shred of truth in the movie can be found. No one can point to one frac, out of the millions that have been undertaken, that contaminated a fresh water zone. It is just impossible to contaminate a fresh water formation through the many sheaths of pipe and cement that are found in a well.

  14. I agree with the above that in effect said, both sides are extremely biased. But, I do agree with the thought that fracking should not be done where it affects/effects other peoples property. Otherwise one should be compensated for the resultant loss of “whatever was there”. Oil and gas are commodities, If you are a landowner, they are now removing from your property what is yours. I believe that there is a term for unlawful removal of property. Asides from that the removal of that “whatever” can create land shifts, ie:earthquakes. Which may damage foundations, etc. .. Because of the fowling or removal, In places where there are basements, it may be most noticeable, surely their is some kind of remedy for the owners, but I haven’t seen one yet. Yes they could let the old fashioned squeese push the oil out, but the faster they remove it, the better the price from china.

  15. Richie D says:
    July 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    So what does this have to do with Climate Change (TM)? Or have I misunderstood the raison d’etre for this website?

    Perhaps you failed to read the words in the banner at the top of any page on the site:
    “Commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology and recent news”

  16. Richie D says:

    July 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    So what does this have to do with Climate Change (TM)? Or have I misunderstood the raison d’etre for this website? Is this about demonizing environmentalists just for the sake of demonizing environmentalists? Or more broadly, it this about demonizing enemies of fossil fuels in general? Well, what’s up with that???

    What it’s about is telling the truth, Richie D. The town of Erie knows the truth about what happened in the negotiations with the oil and gas company, and the UCS was not telling it accurately. This site is about data and presenting/interpreting it as accurately as possible in an open manner. If the oil/gas company was telling “untruths,” (we called that lying in my day), they should be called on it. Unfortunately, UCS has a long history of supporting causes without really looking at the data, so they are easy prey for criticism. UCS was trying to pump up their position in opposition to fracking, so they wanted to appear as “tough negotiators” in the Erie case to increase their credibility. Unfortunately, it was not true. The truth is that they and their allies are ideological obstructionists.

  17. Anthony, as a member of the UCS, what does Kenji have to say about this article? Is he going to renounce his membership?

    No, I have a better idea. He should bite the ankles, and then the a$$es of the clowns at the UCS who were trying to push these lies ! ! ! ! ! ::-) :-) :-)

  18. They have an agenda and there is no truth for them to tell — so to advance that agenda they must lie. Nothing complicated about their behavior.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  19. Richie D – Governor Hickenlooper, an outright Dem leaning towards the far left, drank a mug of fracking fluid to demonstrate it’s safety. He’s been a miserable disappointment all the way around, but on this one issue, he is correct. The battle between him and Jared ‘Not near my shed’ Polis is hysterical. They know that the fracking hysteria is going nowhere and is damaging their chances in November, but they can’t get Polis to shut up about it.

  20. Hey wait a second, that’s a picture of “new” Erie. I’ve been riding my bike through that area since 1989 and a picture of old Erie would show gravel roads and $50,000 houses with many mobile homes. Perhaps the leadership of Erie figured out that energy prosperity equaled local prosperity and cashed in. I can’t blame them if it did indeed lead to their town going from one of the most undesirable places to live to a rather nice place well situated to both Boulder and Denver.

  21. “The Union of Concern Scientists in Cambridge, Mass.” Is actually The Union of unscientific policy based activist? I could have used the word sciectivist, but have no real idea if any of them have any scientific basis on the topic.

  22. The CAGW adherents at one time were in-love with natural gas. It was much cleaner than oil, and coal, with no waste (radioactive, fly ash, or soot messes). That era was before new fracking and horizontal shale drilling technologies unlocked plentiful shale naturaj gas, lowering its cost to make solar and wind economically uncompetitive. Now the Church of CAGW congregation is in a full-throated “ban fracking with any lie” mode to slow the inevitable economic death of wind and farms as government subsidies will ultimately disappear. One fundamental tenent of Environmental Progressives is that the End Justifies the Means. The means include lies, strawman arguments, and alarmist but unfounded claims.

  23. phlogiston says:
    July 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Pathway says:
    July 24, 2014 at 4:42 pm
    Communists do what communists do, lie.

    True, according to new research reported in the Economist:

    But so do – Democrats, Liberals, Nazis, Republicans, Christians, Islamists, Jews, Bankers, Lawyers, Politicians, Reporters, Salesmen, Scientists, in fact any one with an agenda to push or an axe to grind. the more they believe the more they twist the truth & then justify it as noble cause.

    Truth & lies are altered from black & white to 50 shades of gray (like my lingerie drawer ).

  24. Katherine said on July 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm:

    Typo in the headline: Conerned should be Concerned

    Are you sure it couldn’t be Cornered? It sure looks like they’re running out of escape paths.

  25. From SMS on July 24, 2014 at 6:39 pm:

    (…) It is just impossible to contaminate a fresh water formation through the many sheaths of pipe and cement that are found in a well.

    Don’t Poke Murphy.

    Don’t make Murphy angry. You wouldn’t like Murphy when he’s angry.

  26. The lubricants won’t migrate up for the same reason the water table exists: the underlying rock that holds the water up holds frac fluids down. Google “impermeable”.

    The “seismic events” referenced would have trouble tipping over a balanced egg, and in any case small tension releases delay big quakes, if anything.

  27. CO2 is stripped out of gas during the refinery process and this is why it burns so “clean”. However the CO2 is pumped straight out of a pipe at the refinery into the air.

  28. I tried to access the link for text of the letter and got greeted with this :

    “One more step
    Please complete the security check to access energyindepth.org”

    “Why do I have to complete a CAPTCHA?

    Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property.”

    WTF? Web “property”.

  29. Brian H says: “The “seismic events” referenced would have trouble tipping over a balanced egg, and in any case small tension releases delay big quakes, if anything.”

    If there’s any truth in that argument ( which seems reasonable at first view ) , then it would be a case of defusing major events, not just delaying them.

  30. Joel: “Now the Church of CAGW congregation is in a full-throated “ban fracking with any lie” mode to slow the inevitable economic death of wind and farms as government subsidies will ultimately disappear.”

    No Joel, most opposition to fracking is a genuine fear of pollution of the ground water. Whether that is ill-founded, exaggerated or misinformed, or whether we should by now know not to trust the assurances of those who are out to make a stack of money, is another question.

    My gut feeling is that injecting chemicals into the ground needs to be very carefully assessed. Unfortunately, in view of the deception and blatant disregards for facts we’ve seen in AGW saga, I do not trust the info coming from enviros any more that I trust those out to make a pot of gold by telling us there’s absolutely no risk.

    I seriously doubt many are basing their opinions on speculations about the energy futures, like you are.

  31. Don’t expect facts from the anti-frackers; our local bunch of Agrarian economy enthusiasts, “Frack Free Somerset” recently had to pull a leaflet they were putting out – some 25 errors or lies were noted in the leaflet by a local engineer. They are hysterics and fanatics.

  32. Greg Goodman – fracking started in the USA in 1949, and since then, over 1,000,000 wells have been fracked. Any process that takes whatever out of the earth is fraught with problems, yet fracking has a safety record that compares well to mining, drilling for oil, you name it. Water tables are usually two to three hundred feet down – shail gas and oil, thousands. You will have a problem if the well casing fractures by the water table, but the technology is getting smarter by the day. Speak to any mining engineer to get the truthgon fracking.

  33. The claims that fracking has not compromised groundwater in over a million wells is false. I personnel have witnessed at least one case where fracking chemicals showed in shallow ground water only one day after a near by frac job. The cause for this is simple. In that area there are dozens of abandoned wells from the 1920′s that were never plugged and the frac job forces the chemicals back up these old wells to shallow aquifers. I am all for fracking, it is the future of our energy supply, but don’t claim that it has never damaged the environment. If the surface casing isn’t set properly or there are vertical fissures in the confining layer (or old wells that were not plugged nearby), any frac job has the potential to affect shallow aquifers

  34. See the recent post about winning the facts but losing the policy. The radicals simply lie. Nothing new. More voters hear/read and then remember the first screaming headlines. It’s like an RLC response (pick your dampening). Propaganda has a long, long history.

    No one’s been very successful, over time, in simply challenging and presenting facts. It’s just a shouting match and, as noted, the first shout out will prevail in the West. Then consider the propaganda is published daily, taught daily and reinforced via entertainment, etc., and you mostly understand the difficulty of winning. For example, I’d wager a large number of the citizens, a year from now, will tell think the anit-fracker claims are true.

    Think about that the next time you travel to pay your carbon tax in your coffin known as a smart car and see all those horrid windmills, empty coal trains, shuttered power plants, ethanol stations. Winning facts are helpful but simply won’t win. Mein Kampf. Big Lie. History.

  35. save energy on July 25, 2014 at 12:43 am

    phlogiston says:
    July 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Pathway says:
    July 24, 2014 at 4:42 pm
    Communists do what communists do, lie.

    True, according to new research reported in the Economist:

    But so do – Democrats, Liberals, Nazis, Republicans, Christians, Islamists, Jews, Bankers, Lawyers, Politicians, Reporters, Salesmen, Scientists, in fact any one with an agenda to push or an axe to grind. the more they believe the more they twist the truth & then justify it as noble cause.

    Truth & lies are altered from black & white to 50 shades of gray (like my lingerie drawer ).

    That interpretation is not consistent with the results of the study. Did the control group have no beliefs that would have made them equally mendacious? Were none of them liberals, democrats, republicans, christian, islamic, etc?

    No – there does seem to be something special about socialists.

    BTW love to see your lingerie drawer, how about posting a photey for us?

  36. Jkadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    (…) It is just impossible to contaminate a fresh water formation through the many sheaths of pipe and cement that are found in a well.

    Don’t Poke Murphy.
    —————————

    Murphys law states what can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time. The key is “can go wrong”. Somethings really can’t go wrong or are of such extreme improbability that it is not worth trying to mitigate or avoid. We do not place steel sheaths on our roofs even though according to Murphy we could be hit by a meteor or other space debris while watching our favorite TV show.

    We know with oil, there are well documented cases of oil spill contamination, we have over 60 years of fracking, what is the history of proven (not claimed but proven) fresh water contamination? If it is about the risk, what is the risk – is it about equal to being hit by a bus on a beach at 3AM – about equal to being hit by a drunk driver or getting lung cancer without having ever smoked?

    The issue is do you want fracking by your home? It’s a lifestyle choice, what kind of town do you want to live in – industrial or pastoral? I do not want fracking by my home but for the same reason I do not want a solar panel factory, or gigantic windmills, or any other industry, green or otherwise.

  37. Richie D says:
    July 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm
    So what does this have to do with Climate Change (TM)?
    ——————————–
    Environmental alarmism, political activism and biased mis-representation of data.

  38. Jim says:
    July 24, 2014 at 6:43 pm
    “Oil and gas are commodities, If you are a landowner, they are now removing from your property what is yours. I believe that there is a term for unlawful removal of property.”

    I know in Colorado, as well as much of the west, property owners own the surface, but not the mineral rights underneath. Property owners should be able to receive a portion of the proceeds of the sale of the oil and/or gas if the well is situated on their property. But, unless it specifically says so in the property sales agreement, you have no right to the minerals beneath your property.

  39. Katherine [July 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm] says:

    Typo in the headline: Conerned should be Concerned

    [Thanks, fixed. ~ mod.]

    Still incorrect. Proper spelling is “Communist”.

  40. Richie D says:
    July 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm
    ——
    In your opinion, giving out accurate information is “demonizing”?
    This site covers anything that interests Anthony. A large percentage of that is global warming, but there is a lot that isn’t.
    The so called increase in seismic activity involves low level tremors, most of which can’t be felt but need sensitive instruments to detect. Secondly, most of the “increase” occurs miles away from where the drilling occurred. Thirdly, lots of small earthquakes rather than one big one is a good thing.

  41. The real issue is old abandoned wells where the casing has failed or the well wasn’t sealed off properly. Fracking fluid cannot penetrate “vertical fissures” as was mentioned above. If the vertical fissures were permeable the oil & gas would have leaked out millions of years ago and there would be no reason to frac.

  42. save energy says:
    July 25, 2014 at 12:43 am

    In your opinions, everyone is a liar.
    Does that include you?

  43. Greg says:
    July 25, 2014 at 2:13 am
    —–
    Back in the 70′s and 80′s they experimented with injecting water into faults to try and trigger small earthquakes in order to prevent big ones from forming.
    The experiments failed.

  44. Greg Goodman says:
    July 25, 2014 at 2:25 am
    —–
    Those who stand to make a stack of money, can also be sued for everything they are worth if they harm anyone, plus they have about a dozen state and federal agencies looking over their shoulders every step of the way.
    Just because people are trying to make money is not evidence that they are inherently evil.

  45. Greg Goodman says:
    July 25, 2014 at 2:25 am
    most opposition to fracking is a genuine fear of pollution of the ground water.
    Not anymore. You need to get with the times, Greg. Initially, there were some legitimate concerns, but as the technology improved and concerns were addressed, two things happened: enviro whacko groups latched onto it as a money-maker, which is what they do. They will continue to fan the flames of fear, because it is good for their business which is basically fear-mongering for a buck. But then, the anti-human anti-energy climate alarmists saw an opportunity there as well, so they joined forces. Climate alarmists are against fracking because it is convenient for them to be. Attack fracking and you automatically attack energy. In essence, it allows them to hide behind a faux issue while they do their attacking.

  46. Fractivists need to understand that :
    1) Mineral rights are legally superior to surface rights – always have been, always will be
    2) That a clean environment is good business – no oil & gas company wants to deliberately foul the environment
    3) Millions of fracs have been performed over many decades with negliglible adverse effects. I would challenge them to find any industrial process with a record as clean as this.

    …. but of course the assumption here is they are actually concerned.The reality of their actions, as seen in this post is all they really want to do is shut down any industrial actions, facts be damned.

  47. From Alx on July 25, 2014 at 4:26 am:

    Murphys law states what can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time. The key is “can go wrong”. Somethings really can’t go wrong or are of such extreme improbability that it is not worth trying to mitigate or avoid. (…)

    And already the hedging begins, backing away from “just impossible” down to “extreme improbability”.

    As a machinist, as one who has studied heat treatment of high-grade steel, I know strange things happen. Instead of deformation you can get fracturing, sharp-edged across a line in the crystal structure. Steel can change over time, age harden, become more prone to breakage. The rolling of steel introduces structure, “grain” like you were talking about layers of wood. There were customers who wanted washer-like pieces machined from plate rather than cut off a bar of the same material due to the different characteristics.

    And also with methane gas there is a hydrogen component, with hydrogen embrittlement of high-grade steel being a long-known issue.

    Also I haven’t heard studies of what happens to a well that’s hit by lightning, as in thousands of feet below where the steel is unlikely to be recovered for analysis. Physics says the electrical charge would be carried by the outermost conductor, as like charges repel. If the outermost steel/cement layer is cement that’s insulating, then the lightning might be carried very deep by the outermost steel layer, causing strange alignments of the crystal structures as it goes.

    It’s long odds and failure might take a long time, many decades, long after a well is considered depleted. Personally I don’t expect it to be an issue. But by known mechanisms of failure, “just impossible” is just poking Murphy.

  48. Richie D says:

    July 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm
    So what does this have to do with Climate Change (TM)? Or have I misunderstood the raison d’etre for this website?
    ========

    Yes you have misunderstood. Please read the small writing in the head banner.
    “Commentary on puzzling things in life,…” And a puzzling thing to many of us is why UCS lies.

  49. Morning of July 25 (MST):

    Are we to take the lack of updates as UCS ignoring their errors?

  50. If you really want to know what is in the frac fluid here is a link http://energyindepth.org/docs/frac-fluid.pdf .

    I started fracing wells w/Marathon Oil in ’78 and continued through w/Mitchell Energy on the first of the Barnett Shale wells in the 80′s where it was a major geology/engineering/science project. The unknown quantity at the time was that shale was not to be put in contact w/water because of the swelling of the clays. We went from using nitrogen only to, dare I say it, Co2, to over 2 million pounds of sand in gelled water in a period of a couple years. That was back when the wells were all vertical as opposed to the horizontally drilled wells of today.

    Granted there have been many impacts to shallow ground water due to past practices in the oil patch but not one case of groundwater impact can be tied directly to a frac job. Spills, bad practices, and down right intentional releases can and do affect shallow groundwater. Things are getting better and hopefully less groundwater will be impacted in the future. We have plenty of the past to remediate but none due to fracing.

    BTW – fracing in not a drilling process, it is a completion process and disposal of produced water (including spent frac fluid) is a necessary function and is mostly done by injection into non-productive formations or converted production wells into a productive zone, much like is done in waterflooding.

  51. Since natural gas (even though it’s a ‘fossil fuel’) is ‘cleaner’ than other carbon-based fuels, one way to reduce emmissions and appease the cry of those who believe that CO2 is evil incarnate, is to use more of it. To use more of it…you need to get it out of the ground…and the best way to do that…fracking.

    Hence, an appropriate topic for a climate site.

  52. agree with you, Jeff L. For the person who wrote: “Oil and gas are commodities, If you are a landowner, they are now removing from your property what is yours. I believe that there is a term for unlawful removal of property.”

    You’re combining several legal concepts – two are the common law doctrines of “nuisance” and “trespass”, in which someone’s actions cause harm and/or devaluation to someone else’s property, and another is flat out theft, in the case that someone drills under land which they have no leasehold rights to and take the minerals underlying it without permission.

    You should know that no driller goes ahead with a well without having all the minerals in his unit leased, because all states strictly regulate this and the financial penalties for getting caught doing this are immense. But if the mineral owner has leased his rights, or a predecessor in interest has done so, contract law says that he has no case, as long as the lease and all relevant environmental laws are followed.

    But you’re probably concerned about the case where there is a surface owner who owns no mineral rights, and who gains no financial benefit from the drilling underneath his land. This is nothing new, this has been a constant conflict since the first days of the oil and gas industry. The problem is that most states recognize that the surface estate (what your surface owner has) is subservient to the mineral estate (what the subsurface owner has), and the surface owner is legally enjoined from taking action to block the subsurface owner from enjoying the benefit of the minerals he owns.

    If the surface owner can *prove* physical, actual, damage, then he will be compensated, and this happens every day. Unfortunately for most who want to make a complaint, Courts do not recognize “psychological distress because I don’t like drilling” as a valid source of damages.

  53. Union of Concerned Scientists , UNICORNs perhaps?

    As for uplifting peoples lives with cheap energy and economic activity, well that just isn’t socialism chaps. How can any self respecting environut not hate frac’ing?

  54. “In that area there are dozens of abandoned wells from the 1920′s that were never plugged and the frac job forces the chemicals back up these old wells to shallow aquifers. I am all for fracking, it is the future of our energy supply, but don’t claim that it has never damaged the environment. If the surface casing isn’t set properly or there are vertical fissures in the confining layer (or old wells that were not plugged nearby), any frac job has the potential to affect shallow aquifers.”

    Not a petroleum engineer as my dad was, but worked my way through college on fracking crews in the 1970′s. This is the first time I’ve heard of the abandoned well problem. At least it sounds plausible, unlike most of the hysterical baloney since “Gaslands” came out. I imagine no one would want to waste an expensive frac job only to create a “blowout” through an abandoned well.

    What safeguards are in place to ensure that doesn’t happen?

  55. Can you imagine if Eisenhower were president now, there’d be some real ‘splainin to do.

  56. bonanzapilot says:
    July 25, 2014 at 8:21 am
    —————————————-
    In all this talk of oil & gas wells “blowing out” into water aquifers we should be reminded that water wells are also drilled into oil & gas reservoirs (shallow ones). A few years back a geothermal well was being drilled in a back yard of a subdivision near Oakville, Ontario and hit a pocket of natural methane gas almost blowing up the neighborhood. The reaction by the drilling companies was quite negative as they are now faced with the same red tape as the oil & gas companies who explore for it and have to close off the wells properly after completion, document everything and provide all their data to the Ministry to be released to the public.

  57. When I was a little kid over a half century ago I truly did not know there was a difference between the word “communist” and “liar”. It was only later that I learned that I was half wrong, not all liars are communists…

  58. the best lie is a half-told truth. The UCS fairy tale is 99.44% false, and demonstrably so. They are so rapt (pun intended) in their own agenda that the facts have become completely irrelevant. It reminds me of the following:
    “The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” – Leonardo da Vinci

  59. Richie D says:
    July 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm
    So what does this have to do with Climate Change (TM)? Or have I misunderstood the raison d’etre for this website? Is this about demonizing environmentalists just for the sake of demonizing environmentalists? Or more broadly, it this about demonizing enemies of fossil fuels in general? Well, what’s up with that???

    Fracking may be safe as milk. But it does seem to correlate with increased seismic activity.

    @Pathway: my dad was fracking wells back in the ’60s. You are right. It’s nothing new. However, what is new is the composition of the fracking liquids that are used now. In the old days, I believe, fracking was done with the brine water brought up in the wells plus CO2 under pressure. Nowadays, the stuff includes various lubricants, some of which you definitely don’t want in your drinking water. The question is, has the technology reached such a state of perfection that the frackers can be certain it won’t migrate up into the water table many thousands of feet above the injection point? Particularly in light of the aforementioned seismic activity, which may open new fissures leading toward the surface? Beats me. I only know that when chingas of money are involved, niceties like safety and the public welfare take a back seat. The guys who sit atop the corporations that profit from this work, I would be willing to bet, live well away from the oil fields.

    The question is, does anybody have any real, working alternatives? Environmentalists offer nothing except Utopian daydreams of free energy from imaginary sources (newest fad — research into sustainable energy from free-range unicorn farts).

    Nothing is perfect and nothing is without risk, but real energy beats imaginary energy hands down every time — except with greens, or course.

  60. ” jeanparisot says:

    July 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    But it does seem to correlate with increased seismic activity.

    I know it correlates with better seismic sensors. ”

    Most of the comments I have read tying “fracking” to seismicity have involved areas along and around the New Madrid fault. Everyone sees the increase in seismicity as caused by fracking, but if you were reading some of the information dealing with the “New Horizon” blowout that was published at that time, one of those analyzing BP’s screw up was saying that the leakage from the pocket that BP had hit was going to seep along the New Madrid causing increased seismicity. I have never forgotten the statement, and it seems to me that his prediction is currently being verified, but being blamed on something else.

    What we truly know about anything in this world is about the size of a cup of water sitting next to the Pacific Ocean, representing what we don’t know. So much of everything we “believe we know” is conjecture and guess, but our “experts” act as if the ratio was reversed. There is almost nothing that we can do that will hurt the environment – exercising good judgment and consideration. There is almost nothing that we can do that won’t hurt it if we don’t. What we need to do, more than anything else, is change the reason for doing what we do – we don’t have to accumulate great wealth, whatever to hell that is, to accomplish things. Now if some “scientist” could only develop a pill that would cure “greed,” now that would be the best thing that could ever happen.

  61. “This is a subject that interests me very much, both as a Colorado resident whose state may make a lot of money from fracking, and as someone dedicated to the increase and enhancement of life.” Colorado doesn’t make a penny off of “fracking”, which is a minor part of drilling and completions. Colorado makes money off of oil and gas production.

  62. I love the use of the word “chemicals” in order to scare the public. Think about this. You are injecting the frac fluid into the oil and gas formation. In crude oil, you may have 100,000 different “chemicals”. Put it this way, I’d rather drink a glass of frac fluid over a glass of crude oil or produced water. And the “chemicals” are similar to hair conditioner, with some citric acid (lemon juice) to control pH. The other thing, “chemicals” are expensive. Their use is minimized.

  63. “In the old days, I believe, fracking was done with the brine water brought up in the wells plus CO2 under pressure. Nowadays, the stuff includes various lubricants, some of which you definitely don’t want in your drinking water.” Do you even know what you are talking about? Have you ever seen “brine water”? That is some nasty stuff. Oh, and its “natural”.

  64. Jerry says:
    July 24, 2014 at 9:09 pm
    Hey wait a second, that’s a picture of “new” Erie. I’ve been riding my bike through that area since 1989 and a picture of old Erie would show gravel roads and $50,000 houses with many mobile homes. Perhaps the leadership of Erie figured out that energy prosperity equaled local prosperity and cashed in. I can’t blame them if it did indeed lead to their town going from one of the most undesirable places to live to a rather nice place well situated to both Boulder and Denver.

    Jerry, Erie started to build satellite communities about 15 years ago. They wanted homes and business so their children would not have to leave. They were a rural lignite town with dirt roads. The satellite communities like mine allowed the town to pave its roads, put in sidewalks and get their first supermarket. Pretty good for 1999. While balancing business and housing is a challenge for small towns, the various town boards have tried to walk that path. They have a revitalized down town, a growing business park and development in their Weld County side. A hearty “Hurrah” to elected leaders who research what the facts are, in order to make good decisions for their communities!

    Isn’t it terrible when parents want to provide places for their children to live, work and play that are both environmentally safe and prosperous? /sarc

  65. I was a charter member of the UCS. I was a power systems engineer concerned with the sloppy work being done when building early nuclear power plants. This was long before the DEMOCgogues arrived with their ignorant chanting mobs.

    I quit after seeing many of the real and genuine concerned engineers and scientists replaced by cynical PR flaks and fund raisers, who used the money raised to live high on the hog themselves, while not giving a damn about genuine issues. They were and are concerned only with the most fund raising prospects.

    Like Patrick Moore at GreenPeace I quit, and used to say the only Engineers remaining worked the second shift as these sanitation engineers swabeds floors,cleaned toilets and bathrooms for the UCS Red Liars.

    Watermelons, green outside and red inside, are a very apt description of these phonies and charlatans.

  66. Greg Goodman writes, “Most opposisition to fracking is founded on the fear of groundwater contamination.”

    Greg, you are employing a half truth to justify/advocate your position. While it is true the fear that exists in the minds of voters was placed there by environmentalists and is real, I agree they should be wisely skeptical of contrary unsupported claims from the oil-gas profiteers, I offer you this other half of the truth.

    In 2011, then EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, truthfully testified before Congress, “I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water….”
    Since then the new EPA administrator Gina McCarthy and her environmental bed buddies have been in a panic attempting to “counter” with lies and cherypicked data to reverse this truth from the former administrator.

  67. So has the very word “Concerned” been hijacked?

    Lately wherever I encounter that word it has the same putrid odor on it as “progressive” and “enlightened”.

  68. I am impelled to respond to hydraulic fracturing threads since I have designed and implemented hydraulic fracturing for over 30 years as a professional engineer. One obvious point that never seems to be mentioned is the fact that I have an economic interest in the placement of a fracture where I want it to go which make my goals congruent with the anti hydraulic fracturing groups. Since I may be spending over a million dollars to hydraulically fracture, I take every precaution to place the fracture where it will be most effective to produce gas or oil. During the fracturing process, I monitor the job in such a manner that I can immediately determine if the fracture is not going where I don’t want it to. In that event, I immediately stop the job. Not because I am worried about the aquifer, but because I don’t want to waste a $1 million pumping into a non-productive zone, like a fresh water aquifer. The results are that the volume of fluid contamination that could occur is negligible and is immediately reversed flowed from the well. I can say that in 30 years and hundreds of hydraulic fractures that I have no evidence that I have ever contaminated an aquifer. PS. I refuse to use the term “fracking” since it was invented by the “anti’s” because it begins with an “F” and ends with a “K”, implying another word.

  69. ” Billyjack says:
    July 26, 2014 at 8:51 am
    PS. I refuse to use the term “fracking” since it was invented by the “anti’s” because it begins with an “F” and ends with a “K”, implying another word.”

    Here in WV, drillers have been using ‘fracking’ for ages…not the technique, the word. Long before there was much hype and anything was heard from the anti crowd.

  70. Most of the earthquake activity that has an association with fracking actually relates to re-injection wells, or the disposal of the fracking fluid. it does NOT relate directly to the actual fracking itself. However since fracking and re-injection often go hand-in-hand, the mis-association is understandable. But incorrect nonetheless.

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