CAN WE STOP THE SURGE OF MAN-MADE EARTHQUAKES?

THERE’S A WHOLE LOT MORE SHAKING GOING ON IN THE MIDWEST LATELY—AND HUMANS ARE CAUSING IT.

map showing locations of earthquakes east of the rockies from 1973 to 2014, with a noticeable cluster of quakes in Oklahoma

Katie Peek / Popular Science / Source: M. Weingarten et al., Science, 19 June 2015

Earthquakes East Of the Rockies, 1973-2014.

In a recent study, published in Science, geophysicists analyzed earthquakes east of the Rockies and found a strong link to injection sites. Those colored in red were near active wells. Those in gray were not.

Mark Crismon and I were sitting outside his Oklahoma house, looking at the day lilies that lined his pond, when our conversation was interrupted by a distant boom. “Did you feel that?” Crismon asked. “Just be quiet. Sit still.” He’s a lanky 76-year-old, retired from an electronics career, with gray hair combed straight back from his ruddy face. The booms continued, once or twice per minute; I felt them under my skin. “That’s a small earthquake,” he said, seconds before the sound recurred. “There it was again. We’ll go and look on the seismometer—I’ll show you what it looks like.”

 

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“Growing concerns over radiation risks as report Widespread environmental damage on an unimaginable scale in the US” – Guardian News

In case you missed it: “Fracking produces annual toxic waste water enough to flood Washington DC. Growing concerns over radiation risks as report finds widespread environmental damage on an unimaginable scale in the US” –  Guardian News and Media

Based on the report by Environment America Research & Policy Center

Read the full Report Here

Original Article:  Guardian News and Media

U.S. surges past Saudis to become world’s top oil supplier: PIRA (reuters.com)

Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:39pm EDT

(Reuters) – The United States has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become the world’s biggest oil producer as the jump in output from shale plays has led to the second biggest oil boom in history, according to leading U.S. energy consultancy PIRA.

U.S. output, which includes natural gas liquids and biofuels, has swelled 3.2 million barrels per day (bpd) since 2009, the fastest expansion in production over a four-year period since a surge in Saudi Arabia’s output from 1970-1974, PIRA said in a release on Tuesday.

It was the latest milestone for the U.S. oil sector caused by the shale revolution, which has upended global oil trade. While still the largest consumer of fuel, the rise of cheap crude available to domestic refiners has turned the United States into a significant exporter of gasoline and distillate fuels.

Last month, China surpassed the United States  (READ MORE)

Confirmed: Fracking practices to blame for Ohio earthquakes (nbcnews.com)

Charles Q. ChoiLiveScience

Sep. 4, 2013 at 3:54 PM ET
Fracking

USGS This map shows the intensity of shaking in the area of a magnitude-3.9 earthquake that struck near Youngstown, Ohio, on Dec. 31, 2011. Research has linked this earthquake to the underground injection of wastewater from fracking.

Wastewater from the controversial practice of fracking appears to be linked to all the earthquakes in a town in Ohio that had no known past quakes, research now reveals.

The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting water, sand and other materials under high pressures into a well to fracture rock. This opens up fissures that help oil and natural gas flow out more freely. This process generates wastewater that is often pumped underground as well, in order to get rid of it.

A furious debate has erupted over the safety of the practice. Advocates claim fracking is a safe, economical source of clean energy, while critics argue that it can taint drinking water supplies, among other problems …

Read more on NBCNEWS.COM

Frackers slash billions in payments to landowners (Philly.com)

Report: Thousands are receiving far less money than they were promised by energy companies to use their properties. Some are being paid virtually nothing.

Abrahm Lustgarten, PROPUBLICA POSTED: Tuesday, August 27, 2013, 11:00 PM

on Feusner ran dairy cattle on his 370-acre slice of northern Pennsylvania until he could no longer turn a profit by farming. Then, at age 60, he sold all but a few Angus and aimed for a comfortable retirement on money from drilling his land for natural gas instead. It seemed promising. Two wells drilled on his lease hit as sweet a spot as the Marcellus shale could offer – tens of millions of cubic feet of natural gas gushed forth. Last December, he received a check for $8,506 for a month’s share of the gas. Then one day in April, Feusner ripped open his royalty envelope to find…  Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/Frackers_.html

Texas town runs out of water after using it for fracking (treehugger.com)

 

Chris Tackett
Business / Environmental Policy
August 13, 2013

 

Suzanne Goldenberg at The Guardian has a startling article on what may be a common occurrence in Texas and other parts of the US:

Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted.

Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry’s outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.

In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Nearly 15 million people are living under some form of water rationing, barred from freely sprinkling their lawns or refilling their swimming pools. In Barnhart’s case, the well appears to have run dry because the water was being extracted for shale gas fracking.

It is important to note that fracking is not the only problem here, though it is a major one. What this story is also about is decades of sprawl and unchecked resource extraction.

As I’ve bolded above, Goldenberg notes that where water is being rationed, people are barred from watering their lawns or filling pools. Yet, the lawns themselves are a significant source of the problem. At some point we were convinced that every home needed this lush, green lawn, despite the fact that the grasses were non-native and required an unreasonable amount of chemical fertilizer and water to keep alive. And, this isn’t describing Barnhart, specifically, but American sprawl, generally, we’ve built these communities of suburban homes and McMansions with pools that are not designed for life in the desert. All of it has contributed to this current problem.

Goldenberg continues:

Fracking is a powerful drain on water supplies. In adjacent Crockett county, fracking accounts for up to 25% of water use, according to the groundwater conservation district. But Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, argues fracking is not the only reason Texas is going dry – and nor is the drought. The latest shocks to the water system come after decades of overuse by ranchers, cotton farmers, and fast-growing thirsty cities.

“We have large urban centres sucking water out of west Texas to put on their lands. We have a huge agricultural community, and now we have fracking which is also using water,” she said. And then there is climate change.

West Texas has a long history of recurring drought, but under climate change, the south-west has been experiencing record-breaking heatwaves, further drying out the soil and speeding the evaporation of water in lakes and reservoirs. Underground aquifers failed to regenerate. “What happens is that climate change comes on top and in many cases it can be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back, but the camel is already overloaded,” said Hayhoe.

Read the rest.

We’ve seen how climate change and government mismanagement of water played a role in leading to the Syrian revolution. And how the 2013 drought is pushing New Mexico farmers to extreme measures in search of water. It seems inevitable that unless there is some cooperation among neighboring communities and a political solution to better manage water resources and not allow the world’s most profitable industry to suck towns dry, there are going to be some very angry people here in the US, as well.