How is fracking ‘safe’ when we don’t know what’s in fracking fluids?


I’ve long predicted that California will be the place where the rubber hits the road for the fracking boom in America. The rewards in a resource-rich state are too great for Big Oil and Gas to ignore, but the risks — of wasting millions upon millions of gallons of water in a drought-stricken state, of causing earthquakes in a region criss-crossed by fault lines, of polluting the...

Remind me again why there’s fracking in California


By this point, we’re all pretty familiar with the touchstones of the debate over fracking for oil and natural gas. During the early days of this unconventional drilling practice, the best argument in favor of fracking did have something going for it: Natural gas is a much cleaner burning power source than the fuels that it typically replaces, especially coal. Crude oil isn’t very...

The most damning evidence against fracking yet!


It’s hard to imagine how the news about fracking could get any worse. On any given day, my news feed is filled with reports from all across America, and sometimes from outside our borders, about the unintended environmental consequences of this extreme method of extracting natural gas from the shale formations under the earth. Just today, there was yet another report of an earthquake in...

Two days after California rejects fracking moratorium, new earthquake strikes L.A.


Earlier this year, I told you that Southern California could be where the proverbial rubber hits the road for Big Oil and its decade-long adventure with fracking. Although the geology underneath Southern California is rich with natural resources including fossil fuels, the region also has special issues that make it a terrible candidate for the fracking process. One is that the drilling process...

One more reason to hate fracking: It wastes water


You don’t need to be a rocket scientist — or a top geologist, or that matter — to understand that fracking for natural gas is not only a highly risky but a poorly thought-out process. In the half-dozen years since the boom in drilling for shale gas spread from the oil belt of Texas to new regions like the Marcellus Shale underneath Pennsylvania, we’ve watched poorly...

The world is figuring out the truth about fracking


Nobody likes being a guinea pig. But apparently that’s what happened in Pennsylvania and some of the other places where the boom in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, first hit in the late 2000s. Thousands of acres were leased — often by farmers and other property owners in economically depressed areas — and then rigs began to dot the rolling hillsides, But all of this happened...

More proof that fracking is more dangerous than they want you to think


We’re now roughly five years into the surge on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas that has been trapped under shale formations, deep below the earth. The sharp rise in this fairly new type of drilling has overwhelmed states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, formerly coal states where intensive drilling for fossil fuels hadn’t taken place for generations. One important...

You might even say it glows: The fracking wastewater edition


You’re probably familiar with the old saying, “Water, water everywhere — and not a drop to drink.” But when it comes to the hundreds of millions of gallons of wastewater that have been produced in the explosion of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas from Pennsylvania to California, it’s much, much worse than that. Evidence is mounting that the...

Jindal leaves the polluted waters of Louisiana to test the political waters in Iowa


It’s been a pretty stressful month down here in Louisiana. Folks in communities like Braithwaite over in Plaquemines Parish are still trying to dry out from Hurricane Isaac, which was the worst storm to batter these parts in the last four years, flooding about 13,000 homes, causing an estimated $1.5 billion in storm damage, and stirring up a ton of BP oil that’s still out there in the...

The people know the truth: Fracking just isn’t safe


This past week, the natural gas industry — the people who’ve brought fracking to a community near you — held a major convention in Philadelphia, not far from the Marcellus Shale region where some of the most frenetic drilling is taking place. Inside a gleaming convention center, the multi-millionaire CEOs of Big Gas and their political hand-puppets like the Republican governor...

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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