Natural gas prices are falling. This means that America will have a clean form of energy for decades — maybe centuries — to come.
The gas is available because of a new production process called fracking. It involves flooding gas pockets with water.
Now a government report says that this increase in fracking and an increase in the number of earthquakes in the Midwest are taking place together.
The report does not offer evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship. But it says there is one.
Washington, D.C. – A U.S. Geological Survey research team has linked oil and natural gas drilling operations to a series of recent earthquakes from Alabama to the Northern Rockies.
The word “link” means connection.
According to the study led by USGS geophysicist William Ellsworth, the spike in earthquakes since 2001 near oil and gas extraction operations is “almost certainly man-made.” The research team cites underground injection of drilling wastewater as a possible cause.
The enviros are licking their collective chops.
“With gasoline prices at $4 a gallon, there’s pressure to rush ahead with drilling, but the USGS report is another piece of evidence that shows we have to proceed carefully,” said Dusty Horwitt, Senior Counsel and chief natural resources analyst at Environmental Working Group. “We can’t afford multi-million-dollar water pollution cleanups or earthquakes that could pose risks to homes and health.”
The enviros want to stop economic growth. They want more government regulation. Falling natural gas prices are the #1 threat to their movement. So, new production must cease.
Here is the key fact:
The USGS authors said they do not know why oil and gas activity might cause an increase in earthquakes but a possible explanation is the increase in the number of wells drilled over the past decade and the increase in fluid used in the hydraulic fracturing of each well. The combination of factors is likely creating far larger amounts of wastewater that companies often inject into underground disposal wells. Scientists have linked these disposal wells to earthquakes since as early as the 1960s. The injections can induce seismicity by changing pressure and adding lubrication along faults.
The phrase “combination of factors” means “we have no explanation.”
I had wondered how the enviros were going to stop this development. I knew they could not tolerate vast new sources of clean, cheap energy inside the USA. That would give the USA a new source of economic growth.
Their political ship has come in.