Frack You!

March 28, 2013

fear and fracking-thumb-560x560High overcast this early Thursday morning, the odd-shaped moon hanging bright through passing clouds, its luster-orb seemingly out over the Pacific — feels warmer out than inside my apartment.
Weather up here on California’s north coast has been incredible the last few days. There’s been some rain, but not enough to do anything, or even get in the way of stuff, and it’s been really warm — yesterday I could walk around outside without a jacket.
Spring has sprung, huh?

Weather has become more than just weird. The environment is in a drastic change-up mode with mankind handling the throttle switch as more and more ugly shit is spewed out into the increasingly-crowded air because we love machinery apparently more than ourselves.

(Illustration found here).

And I’m to blame as much as the next clown. A few days ago I put another $20 worth of gas in my old Jeep at the still-going rate of $4.39 a gallon for regular — it’s been at that level for awhile.
The US national average is $3.65 a gallon for regular, but that’s expected to go upward — crude oil prices rose on Wednesday, climbing more than $4 in less than a week. Although the source shit has gone up, the gas pump has not reflected that YET — gas right now is actually down a nickel over the past week, and a quarter lower than in March 2012.
And all this in the very-midst of a supposedly energy explosion in the US — expect it’s at the expense of being kept alive.

A most-terrifying form is in what’s sideways-called “fracking,” or ramming water down into the ground to suck out the juicey parts. This process, however, has a huge-quick depletion rate, which won’t hold up for very long — and despite all the screams about energy independence, peak oil is come and gone, dragging the rest of us down.
And it’s causing earthquakes.

Yesterday from Scientific American on those earthquakes in the US heartland:

According to a new study published online March 26 in Geology, the earthquake was indeed caused by filling up the old oil cavities with water until there was simply too much pressure on the surrounding rock.
Records showed that after years of requiring little pressure to dump the wastewater, oil operators recently have had to actively pump the water down the old wells to overcome a more than 10-fold increase in underground pressure, which peaked at 3.6 megapascals, or 525 pounds-per-square-inch.
That’s because the volume of wastewater pumped down had exceeded the volume of oil extracted, suggests the team of researchers from the University of Oklahoma, Columbia University and the U.S. Geological Survey.
That increased pressure then caused the rock to jump along a pre-existing fault, known as the Wilzetta Fault.

And the Wilzetta Fault remains under pressure from local dumping despite the recent earthquake, which buckled pavement and destroyed 14 homes.
Our fossil fuel addiction means there’s a lot of wastewater to get rid of and a lot of questions about whether it can be safely dumped underground.

And it just ain’t the OK — the technique is now plaguing the Dutch. Via the NY Times: The quakes were caused by the extraction of natural gas from the soil deep below. The gas was discovered in the 1950s, and extraction began in the 1960s, but only in recent years have the quakes become more frequent, about 18 in the first six weeks of this year, compared with as few as 20 each year before 2011.

And just in time for our rivers and streams. Just this week: Fifty-five percent of U.S. river and stream lengths were in poor condition for aquatic life, largely under threat from runoff contaminated by fertilizers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday. High levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, runoff from urban areas, shrinking ground cover and pollution from mercury and bacteria were putting the 1.2 million miles of streams and rivers surveyed under stress, the EPA said.

Welcome to the frack side of life.

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