Check out the latest ant-fracking film from Josh Fox (the maker of Gasland) called The Sky is Pink, which is being called “the best 18 minute movie ever made.”
When I talked with Mark Ruffalo last November – whose organization organization Water Defense is trying to bridge the movements working to stop mountain top removal, hydro fracking and tar sands mining – he said that we had entered the era of “extreme energy”. As supplies of conventional fossil fuels dwindle, we are employing increasingly extreme methods to extract energy resources from the earth.
I was reminded of Ruffalo’s comments today when I read this article, which discusses two separate studies confirming a link between the practice of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and earthquake activity. Here is an excerpt:
Energy companies are increasingly using the technique across Canada, where there is already regular seismic activity and an ever looming threat of various sized tremors. The process involves blasting water, sand and chemicals deep into the ground to fracture rock to obtain oil and natural gas.
The U.S. Geological Survey is set to release its findings Wednesday that a “remarkable” increase of quakes in the U.S. midcontinent since 2001 is “almost certainly” the result of oil and gas production.
Opposition to fracking has ramped up since the release of the 2010 documentary “Gasland,” which shows residents of small town Colorado setting alight tap water they charge was soured by nearby oil industry activity.
Fracking causes earthquakes, studies confirm – Technology & Science – CBC News.
An independent major study of fracking has found that there is no evidence to suggest that the practice – in which water, sand, chemicals are pumped into wells to break up deep layers of shale and release natural gas – has contaminated groundwater. However, the report does conclude that contamination tends to happen closer to the surface when gas and drilling fluid escapes from poorly lined wells or storage ponds.
The study, which appears to be wholly independent from undue influence by the natural gas industry, did not see a need for new regulations specific to fracking, but for better enforcement of existing regulations of drilling in general—such as those covering well casing and disposal of wastewater from drilling.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the ongoing battles over fracking in the U.S. and Canada. But is the larger question here not about fracking itself but the increasingly apparent need to move away from fossil-fuel based forms of energy? Doesn’t fracking represent the growing extremes to which we are willing to go in order to extract and burn every last drop of the earth’s diminishing fossil fuel reserves? Maybe it’s high time we figure out a plan for how we as a global community are going to wean ourselves off the “crack” once and for all.
Environmental Policy news: Fracking impacts reviewed in major study.
Interview with Frederic Bohbot, producer of the new documentary film Burning Water
Click the audio player to hear my recent interview with the producer of the new documentary film, Burning Water. Directed by Cameron Esler and Tadzio Richards, Burning Water is about a family living in a small town in Alberta where an oil and gas boom is underway. Yet there’s a catch: their water can be lit on fire.
Canada’s largest natural gas company, Encana, has been drilling for coal bed methane in the area using a process called ‘fracking‘, which uses chemicals for drilling. Now methane is turning up in large quantities in the wells and the water supply of local farmers.
Is coal bed mining to blame? The Lauridsen family thinks so but the government of Alberta has other ideas. As other jurisdictions in North America consider their own oil and gas exploitation (such as shale gas drilling here in Quebec), Burning Water is a timely contribution to the debate. It serves as a cautionary tale that raises some very serious questions we all need to consider.
To download the interview, right click here and select ‘Save as’ or ‘Save target as’.