Does hydraulic fracturing—the process of forcing water, sand and a few chemicals down the bore hole and into shale formations—cause earthquakes? The National Research Council (NRC), part of the National Academies of Science, says the answer to that would be “no, fracking does not cause earthquakes.” That’s according to a new study just released by the NRC titled “Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies” (a link to the full study is embedded below).
The study found that out of a sample size of 35,000 oil and gas wells that have been horizontally fracked, earthquakes have been detected—get ready—in one instance. One. Which is statistically dead zero.
As the number of Marcellus gas wells increase in Pennsylvania, so too do the number of pipelines to move the gas and the number of natural gas compressor stations. Compressor stations push the gas along the pipeline until the pipeline connects to a larger pipeline. Compressor stations are the next battleground for anti-drillers who want to plant the seeds of doubt.
For example, 29 permits have been or are being considered for compressor stations in northeastern PA, and of those, nearly two dozen of them are within a 15-mile radius of Dimock, PA. Since 2005, 383 permits have been issued statewide, but not all of them have been or will be built. The issue of contention is air pollution. Each station emits some volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). How much they emit, and their combined effect in a region, is what is in dispute.
Another New York town votes to ban fracking for one year. Not that it makes a hill of beans worth of difference. The town board for Enfield, in Tompkins County, New York, voted last Wednesday to ban fracking:
The numbers in Ohio show that the Utica and Marcellus Shale drilling boom is already having a positive affect on the commercial real estate market. Late payments for commercial mortgages and loan delinquency rates have dropped, significantly, in just the past year.