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Sustainable Solutions: Fracking - February 2015 - by Sam Euston


Sustainable Solutions
February 2015 - by Sam Euston
Fracking, it’s effects & our dependency

by Sam Euston

I suspect this month’s topic, may not be my most popular piece, but it needs visibility & attention given to it, along with a change in our status quo.  It’s about Fracking, it’s effects & our dependency.

Sonoma County has a significant reliance on fossil fuel. Transportation alone emits more than half of our Greenhouse Gas emissions, according to the Climate Protection Committee.

If we care about the health and wellbeing of our children, future generations, our Sonoma County, California, and our planet: our habits and mindset, need to shift, ASAP !

“People used to think the use of fossil fuels could continue unchanged for the next 20 years, but there’s now broad understanding that window is closing,” Jamie Henn, Co-founder

California State Senator Fran Pavely, who represents Agoura Hills, is the author of the new law that went into effect this month. Oil companies are now required to fully disclose their methods.

"This is a first step toward greater transparency, accountability and protection of the public and the environment., Oil companies will not be allowed to frack or acidize in California unless they test the groundwater, notify neighbors and list each and every chemical on the Internet."

Fran Pavely, CA Senator 

We already know the following:
1 - Fracking regularly uses toxic chemicals: methanol, benzene, naphthalene, tetrahydrofuran & trimethylbenzene  (to name a few).

2 - Continuing evidence supports these chemicals make their way into aquifers & drinking water.

3 - Scientists at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, report about 25 percent of the chemicals used in fracking are known carcinogens.

4 - Fracking has proven it releases Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), invisible to the human eye. Examples: aredangerous petroleum hydrocarbons, including benzene, toluene and xylene.  The FLIR GasFinder Thermal Camera makes VOC pollution visible, and is used to document chemical releases.

5 - The fracking process can support lead, arsenic and radioactivity to be brought back to the surface through its flowback fluid.

6 - “State study finds unsafe levels of airborne chemicals near oil and gas fields“ Journal of Environmental Health Oct 2014

According to this report “Air concentrations of potentially dangerous compounds and chemical mixtures are frequently present near oil and gas production sites. Levels of eight volatile chemicals exceeded federal guidelines under several operational circumstances. Benzene, formaldehyde, and hydrogen sulfide were the most common compounds to exceed acute and other health-based risk levels.

7 - On average, each fracking well requires 2 to 5 million gallons of water to complete its cycle. That water can be obtained through municipalities, trucking it in, and /or site water well drilling. It has also been reported that drinking water aquifers (close to the sites) have seen their reserves depleted.

8 - Denton, Texas; where fracking was invented, has itself passed a ban on fracking.

9 - Fracking is a short term “fix” with long term damaging environmental effects (as demonstrated above). 

10 - Average production from fracked wells declines 60 percent to 75 percent in the first year alone.   Allen Gilmer, Chairman & CEO of Drillinginfo

11 - To offset the average well’s short life span, the procedure is to drill more and more wells, adding in more chemicals, releasing more VOC’s.  Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at PCI coined the termed for this process “Drill Baby Drill” 

12 - Much of California’s oil is dirty, heavy crude.  The California Air Resources Board scores many of the state’s oil fields, on a similar carbon intensive scale as Alberta tar sands oil. 

The evidence is in: the environmental and climate damage created by fracking, far exceeds the derived short term benefits, or even the profits extracted by the crude sold. Fracking contributes to Climate Change. 

Gov. Jerry Brown mentioned in his recent speech stated: “A key challenge facing California is not just drought today. It’s climate change, now and forever.” Fracking consumes massive amounts of water, and contributes further to Climate Change.

The governor’s goals “to reduce the state’s CO2 emissions by 25 billion tons by 2020, while obtaining at least 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources”, can be accomplished by utilizing more and more affordable renewable resources now. Yes, it’s tempting to go back to the familiar (such as fracking), affordable renewables can become more and more familiar, as well as healthier and sustainable.

Let Gov. Jerry Brown know, fracking, is not a California solution, affordable renewable energy is ! ! !

UpComing Event:

March for Real Climate Leadership 

WHAT: The March for Real Climate Leadership: Our Water, Our Health, Our California
WHEN: 11:30 am, February 7, 2015
WHERE: Frank Ogawa / Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th & Broadway, Oakland, California