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Thread: Elizabeth Warren’s Daft Fracking Scheme

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    Elizabeth Warren’s Daft Fracking Scheme

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/elizabeth...215803736.html

    Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts promises that if she is elected president, she will issue an immediate unilateral prohibition — based on some presidential power that she’ll invent as soon as she gets around to it — on the method of natural-gas production known colloquially as “fracking.” Other Democratic contenders, including Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris of California, have made similar promises.

    Another way of saying this is that the Democrats promise to induce artificial scarcity in the energy market. Yet another way of saying this is that the Democrats promise to create effective subsidies for such relatively high-pollution energy sources as coal and diesel at the expense of a relatively low-pollution energy source in the form of natural gas. And yet another way of saying this is that the Democrats propose to subsidize petroleum producers from Russia to Iran at the expense of small to midsize businesses in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico, Texas, and other energy-producing states.

    Why?

    What we call “fracking” relies on two relatively old technologies: hydraulic fracturing, which is used to break up underground shale formations to release oil and gas trapped therein, and horizontal drilling, which allows for the efficient recovery of that released oil and/or gas. Combining those two technologies with recent advances in everything from materials development to seismic imaging has revolutionized energy production in the United States — and that gets up the noses of certain people, prominent among them so-called environmentalists who are categorically opposed to all new development of conventional energy sources — even when that development comes with important environmental benefits. Their opposition is ideological and quasi-religious. It is based only very loosely on genuine environmental concerns.

    Which is not to say that there aren’t any. Unconventional gas production, like any other kind of energy production, brings with it environmental challenges. These are mostly unsexy problems involving things such as wastewater management — there’s a lot of poisonous and occasionally radioactive stuff deep underground, and the water used in hydraulic fracturing brings some of that up with it. In the early days of fracking, that wastewater would be turned over to municipal water-management authorities, who often just diluted it and dumped it into the nearest river; thankfully, better techniques (including recycling fracking water) have since been developed. Other, more dramatic environmental problems associated with fracking range from the fictitious to the exaggerated. Fracking can contribute to “induced seismicity,” meaning little earthquakes that are generally but not always too small to be felt at the surface. Fracking can also lead to drinking-water contamination through “methane migration,” meaning the leakage of natural gas from wells into groundwater — but it is worth keeping in mind that such methane migration also happens both naturally (“burning springs” were documented in North America as far back as the early 1700s) and through other activity such as digging water wells. Studies have suggested that fracking is in fact less likely to produce this kind of contamination than is conventional drilling, in part because fracking typically happens at a depth far removed from accessible groundwater.

    Those are the environmental challenges. The environmental benefit is this: In the first two decades of this century, the United States substantially reduced its greenhouse-gas emissions, more so than in many Western European countries pursuing active national programs of carbon-dioxide reduction. This happened because the abundant production of natural gas drove down prices and made it attractive to substitute that relatively clean-burning fuel for such relatively high-emissions sources as coal and heating oil for purposes such as generating electricity and heating buildings. The United States achieved these reductions while emissions were climbing in most of Asia and Europe. And it did so without any heavy-handed regulation or federal bullying.
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  3. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Danke View Post
    Fracking can also lead to drinking-water contamination through “methane migration,” meaning the leakage of natural gas from wells into groundwater — but it is worth keeping in mind that such methane migration also happens both naturally (“burning springs” were documented in North America as far back as the early 1700s) and through other activity such as digging water wells. Studies have suggested that fracking is in fact less likely to produce this kind of contamination than is conventional drilling, in part because fracking typically happens at a depth far removed from accessible groundwater.
    [/FONT][/COLOR]
    This occurs pretty much anytime you penetrate coal seams. This is not specific to unconventional wells in any way - in fact, it's less likely with deep unconventional wells because, as mentioned, the shales that are being fracked are generally thousands of feet below the surface (in Appalachia, the depths range from 6K-13K before they even go horizontal), and there are multiple layers of steel casing and concrete through the vertical sections of the well.

    Also, to the point of the article, the economic impact of such a prohibition would be staggering. Unconventional drilling has played a big role in the revitalization of the NE rust belt - Southwestern PA, WV, Southeastern OH. It's just an absolute absurdity that this is even a thing. The hysteria over "fracking" is one of the more absurd talking-points in politics today. It's unbelievable that such a "ban" is even a potentiality. This is one of the main reasons I'm an advocate for Appalachian secession.
    Last edited by A Son of Liberty; 09-11-2019 at 06:04 AM.

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