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Frack, yeah!

Gazette staff April 18th, 2012

It’s been a rough few months for hydraulic fracturing.

Otherwise known as fracking, the method of natural-gas extraction is hailed by the energy industry (and those the industry has helped elevate to regulatory government positions) while simultaneously drawing fire from critics in the media, Hollywood and environmental groups.

Thus far this year, the Environmental Protection Agency pushed back hard on criticism of its report that found a link between fracking and the pollution of an aquifer in Pavilion, Wyo. That was followed by Josh Fox, maker of the 2010 anti-fracking documentary Gasland, being thrown out of a congressional hearing — a brouhaha that might have been his publicist’s wettest of wet dreams.

Brad Gregg

And now hydraulic fracturing is incurring the wrath of … Matt Damon.

Yes, Jason Bourne himself is set to star in The Promised Land, a film which the central conflict will revolve around fracking. Damon reportedly contributed to the script.

But not all are willing to take the word of Hollywood — or even the EPA — that fracking might be dangerous business.

Representatives from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Devon Energy, along with state Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy, spoke to members of the Oklahoma Academy about the safety of fracking during an April 11 symposium on water issues.

Murphy said the EPA data in the Pavilion case was questionable, and criticized the media for hastily accepting the data.

“It seems like we’re very quick in the media to jump out and say, ‘This is a problem,’ before dealing with the facts,” Murphy said. “Once it’s out there, it’s out there. You have to be concerned when things come out real quickly without the backup of the data.”

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04.18.2012 at 07:41 Reply

No, I get concerned when people who are the ones making billions say what they do is "perfectly safe."  Ever hear of a conflict of interest, cause that sounds like a pretty F'n big conflict of interest.

In Gasland it's mentioned that a well can be fracked as many as 17 times.  Just visualize that for a moment.  You have this pocket in the ground, and you pressurize it until the "shale" cracks, thus releasing the gas which is trapped in this porous material.  Now repeat it 17 times.  You cannot tell me that after you've literally fractured the rock around this pocket 17 times that the gas coming from the well will NOT bleed up through the water table.

Moreover, once you've destabilized the rock underground by fracturing it up to 17 times that the pocket will not eventually collapse and potentially cause an earthquake.  Add to that the fact that if you frack near a fault line, you are essentally adding a lubricant to a system already under stress.  Although I'm sure the fracking community could spin that to say that by causing small earthquakes now, it prevents a catastrophic earthquake in the future.  Which is probably true.  But that is little consolation to people whose homes may have already been badly damaged by this.