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Do-It-Yourself Earthquakes; Fracking

Fracking rig.

(Picture courtesy of )

While we are watching with horror the aftereffects of the immense earthquake that hit Japan this week, out there in our backyard, increasing numbers of quakes are occurring in places there is no reason for them to happen.  As the usual testing ground for offenses against nature, Texas was experiencing the phenomenon before it spread to other places where a citizenry could express outrage more readily.

In the Fort Worth area, the effects of fracking have been under scrutiny for awhile – effects ranging for flammable tapwater to increasing numbers of tremblors.

Natural earthquakes had been felt in other parts of the state, and human meddling had been tied to such movement elsewhere. The ground shook shortly after the filling of Lake Mead in the 1930s, for example, as well as after major oil extractions and fluid injections around the world.

While science can’t prove that the injections triggered the Texas shaking, Frohlich suggested that new data, which show a large number of quakes striking close in time and space to the well’s activity, does make a mere coincidence unlikely.

While major earthquakes have not been traced to unnatural causes, the spread of mining natural gas by fracking – a method that injects liquids and undisclosed chemicals into the layers of earth that contain fossil fuels – the increase of areas covers has spread concerns that Texas rural areas have felt when their land has been endangered.

Of course, BP is yet another party that we’ve already experienced too up close and personal in their drilling for our resources.  Another party that was involved in constructing the now exploding nuclear facilities in Japan, GE, even pops up in hearings now under way in New York about the safety of fracking.

An executive from General Electric (GE, Fortune 500), which has a big water purification businesses, told the CERA panel that 35 billion gallons of water are used in U.S. shale gas wells each year — the same amount consumed by a million U.S. homes.

As our experience of the dangers inherent in disturbing areas around nuclear facilities are being enlarged, so are concerns about the possibility for damage that cannot be withstood.  Fracking is a disturbance of the earth that is increasingly endangering areas of the U.S. that are already subject to earthquakes.

Experts from the United State Geologic Survey have attributed recent earthquakes in Arkansas to “fracking,” in which a chemical mixture is injected into the ground at high pressure to fracture rock and release natural gas. Worries about fracking-related pollution (see my blog) led the governor of Pennsylvania to stop drilling on state lands.

There is a wealth of sources for energy that we are wasting while developing sources like fracking and nuclear plants that are hazardous to our health, and to our world.   Solar and wind are put down as requiring infrastructure we don’t have.  This is ludicrous when the destruction spreads from the fossil and nuclear fuels we do use, at our peril.

There is no reason to continue the coddling of oil industries that demand subsidies and then drain our resources of so many kinds.   Further to allow the injury to our earth that their present favorite “drill, baby, drill” attacks are producing is insane.
Beware the Ides of March;  seems a little ominous today.
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Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.