CA fossil-fuel foes want to ban more than just fracking

CA fossil-fuel foes want to ban more than just fracking

Fracking-ban1-300x248California foes of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have been surprised and disappointed at their inability to get Gov. Jerry Brown or the Legislature to ban the practice. Brown’s support for a law regulating but permitting the newly improved drilling technique barely seemed to discomfit the oil industry.

But now frack phobes are borrowing a tactic from anti-fracking activists in Colorado and New York state and focusing on county-level moratoriums. This is from KQED, the San Francisco PBS station and website:

In May, Santa Cruz County supervisors voted to pass a fracking ban. Voters in San Benito and Santa Barbara counties will vote on bans in November. Activists in Butte and Mendocino counties are still working to qualify ballot measures.

But activists don’t just want to ban fracking, which uses underground water cannons to blast through rocks and access oil and natural gas reserves. They’re also targeting another drilling technique, KQED notes. Armen Nahabedian of Citadel Exploration says that his company …

… doesn’t use fracking, but it does use another oil extraction technique that the initiatives would ban, called cyclic steam injection. Oil in California is heavy, so producers inject steam underground to loosen it up.

“Steam injection is an old technique,” he says. “We’ve been using it in the industry since the early 1960s. It’s not much different than cleaning a dirty engine block.”

About 60 percent of oil produced in California is extracted with steam injection and similar methods, making it more common than fracking. Nahabedian says banning steam injection would mean the state’s refineries would have to look at importing oil from outside the state.

The inclusion of steam injection in the fracking ban is awfully telling. It shows that the real goal of anti-fracking activists is shutting down fossil fuels in general, not just allegedly protecting the environment.

KQED’s story helps foster this movement, as do the California media in general, by never noting that the Obama administration — the greenest administration in history — considers fracking safe.

What few [Californians] seem to understand, and what the media have rarely emphasized, is that the Obama administration dismisses [environmentalists’] alarmism about fracking … .

This is why the president’s first energy secretary, Steven Chu, said: ‘”We believe it’s possible to extract shale gas in a way that protects the water, that protects people’s health. We can do this safely.”

This is why the MIT physicist the White House recently nominated to succeed Chu, Ernest Moniz, described the risks to water posed by fracking as “challenging but manageable.”

This is why the president’s first Environmental Protection Agency director, Lisa Jackson, told a House committee that she was “not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.”

More on this angle here.


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  1. Ronald Stein
    Ronald Stein 17 July, 2014, 15:08

    The American economy and lifestyle to which we have become accustomed is being challenged by our need for oil.

    Oil is the foundation of the California economy and its mobility for 38 million citizens. More than 97% of California’s 32,000,000 vehicles DO NOT run on electricity or other alternative fuels.

    The current California vehicle registration in 2012 was 32,000,000 (2,662 billion miles driven) and the consumption of transportation fuels was 50,000,000 gallons EVERY DAY, or an average of about 1.5 gallons per day per vehicle.

    Vehicle registration is projected to grow 37% from 32,000,000 to 44,000,000 vehicles by 2030 and 3,138 billion miles projected to be driven (18% increase). The fuel demand is projected to decrease slightly from the current 50,000,000 gallons per DAY mostly as a result of more fuel efficiencies, and a slight impact by the small number of vehicles run on electricity or other alternative fuels.

    EVERY CALIFORNIA INDUSTRY is dependent on energy from the petrochemical sector as well as the by-products from oil for their existence to support the lifestyle and standard of living that we have become accustomed.
    Oil supply from California and Alaska is now less than 50%. To support the California economy, in state oil would be less expensive and more environmentally effective than meeting our needs with crude oil by trucks or rail into California.

    We definitely need safe, economical, and reliable sources of energy to maintain our lifestyle and economy, but beating up on the ONE industry that supports all the other industries appears to be a way of shooting ourselves in the foot.

    Reply this comment
  2. Queeg
    Queeg 17 July, 2014, 22:30

    There is a point where it ends. The constant assault on the hard earned income of the working poor and middle class.

    Reply this comment
  3. Donkey
    Donkey 19 July, 2014, 11:31

    The eco-nuts are running the crazy RAGWUS in California. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  4. vonborks
    vonborks 19 July, 2014, 18:47

    Just what is it about Jerry Brown’s long term fracking plan that the activists don’t understand? Hey you people, Jerry is on your side, he simply wants to frack it up to make it easier to suck it all up and then export all that oil and natural gas to foreign markets, the billion$ in profits to be used to provide more solar and wind subsidies and to fund his train so you old gone to seed SoCal hippies and new ippies can snooze and schmooze a few hours in-route to visiting your old San Francisco breeding grounds, and what’s not to like about that?

    Reply this comment
  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 20 July, 2014, 12:21

    Sounds about right!

    Reply this comment

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