Can Fracking Bans Succeed in Oil and Gas Country? All Eyes Are on Monterey – WSJ
From a constant reader in North Dakota: “Today’s WSJ article about fracking in Monterey County caught my eye. The Bakken oil play propelled ND to the country’s #2 oil producer, second only to Texas. The Bakken is so successful entirely because of fracking; without fracking, Bakken oil is not accessible economically. Yet even here in pro-oil country, fracking has become controversial because of its impact on water.
Each well uses over 1 million gallons of water to frack. The water has to come from somewhere economically accessible, and the oil industry has engaged in controversial, highly questionable practices to gain access to that much water, a scarce resource in this area. One practice has been to buy off ranchers, pitting neighbor against neighbor. Once fracked, the ‘brine’ residue then must be disposed. It is highly salty; and it and the filtering equipment used in the fracking process are contaminated with above legal levels of radioactive waste. Salt water disposal wells, the source of the alarming earthquake activity in Oklahoma, have sprung up around the area, themselves replete with problems ranging from contamination to leaks to bankruptcy, leaving county taxpayers holding the bag. Radioactive waste disposal has been a source of continual problems in ND, numerous incidents of illegal dumping, costing counties multi-millions in clean-up costs. The State has dealt with this problem by raising the level of acceptable contamination, making it easier to dispose of the radioactive waste. Further, issues abound about the impact on our aquifers created by fracking; a pattern has been established demonstrating drying up residential and stock wells.
Fracking creates so many issues. Like Monterey County, the Little Missouri National Grasslands, where I live, is one of this country’s true natural treasures. The impact on our lives, our lands, our water, from the oil industry’s activities is real. I hope Monterey County protects itself.”
81flatrock81 adds this regarding where he/she lives and his/her understanding of the issue: “readers are welcome to contact me. [email is: firstname.lastname@example.org] My ranch is located on the fringe of the Bakken play. My county, McKenzie County, is ND’s #1 oil-producing county. I have personally experienced all sides of the oil issue, from local ranchers’ perspectives about the advantages as well as disadvantages from oil activity, to local and state politicians/regulators/employees, essentially apologists for the industry, to industry actions and practices. Generally speaking, it appears to me that the bottom line is short-term money making, an irresistible elixir erasing sound judgment and rational thinking.”