The “fracking” debate rages on

23 Nov 2011

So, early word from a University of Texas study is that hydraulic fracturing doesn’t pose the contamination risk that many of its critics say it does.  Other than the final report hasn’t been written yet, the “but” behind this are:

1. The study focused only on deep groundwater impacts – not earthquakes or shallow impacts (which is the subject of a further study);

2. But even more importantly, this study apparently assumes that everything is always done properly.  A professor leading the study is quoted as saying   “From what we’ve seen so far, many of the problems appear to be related to other aspects of drilling operations, such as poor casing or cement jobs, rather than to hydraulic fracturing, per se.”  That’s an excellent argument for better regulation of fracking rather than its outright ban – it is certainly not an argument for maintaining the status quo.  That reminds me of the argument that deep water oil drilling was “perfectly safe.”  That’s only true until the Deepwater Horizon well explodes because of human error.

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