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California | Central Valley | Environment & Forest Defense

California Sunset: Future Of Fracking And Farming
by Tomas DiFiore
Tuesday Apr 1st, 2014 2:41 PM
From Sunset Travel Magazine April Issue, Future of Fracking in California: The weakest links in the safety chain, according to experts, are the steel casings and cement that line the wells underground. They’re designed to isolate harmful chemicals from the surrounding environment, but they’re far from infallible 6 to 7 percent of new wells drilled failed within 3 years by “compromised structural integrity,” according to Ingraffea’s research. STOP. Now look at where the quotes appear. This is copied direct from the Sunset article. BUT what Dr Athony Ingraffea's research actually shows, is that the ascribed rate of failure of 6-7% occurs in the first year. By year 3, it is upwards of 20 per cent, or 1 in 5 wells. Add this to the discussion at CapRadio, and the upcoming USC Symposium to Explore ‘Unconventional Gas & Oil and the Energy Landscape’ which features Catherine Reheis-Boyd as a panelist.
800_capradio_sources.jpg original image (1200x1191)
California Sunset: Future Of Fracking And Farming

The recent Sunset article is a well written 'reasonably balanced' middle ground approach to understanding where California stands in the fracking debate in California. Or Fracking wars as it is also known with industry using military strategists and psy-ops tactics on communities, rural neighbors, judicial gag orders on patients and doctors, litigation settlement buy-outs of toxic properties overlaying contaminated aquifers (in shale fracked States) across half the country.

Well written in that it presents quantifiable sounding development schemes in memes on the side of the industry experts, and then simply contrasts pastoral daily farm life in engaging story form along with general summary quotes supporting environment and health concerns. Only one paragraph mentions local air pollution but not GHG or Climate Change and uncontrolled emissions from development of oil and gas at the well site.

The Future of Fracking in California

The balance of data type (true or false is not the issue only the amount) in text by paragraph, leans heavily towards industry. Maybe that's just the way they talk. Industry is portrayed as sounding certain, and we are portrayed as concerned about unknowns. I always look at how any situational analysis is portrayed in it's summary ending paragraphs.

The Sunset article, Future of Fracking in California, concludes with, Paula Getzelman who “believes a moratorium is the best interim measure “to allow time to gather some evidence, whichever way it might go, and allow for more reasonable discussion on both sides.”

With a large enough research investment, Paula goes on to say, “we might find a way to tap the Monterey that’s both lucrative for the oil industry and protective of the environment and human health.” If that happens, she’ll be all for it. “But if, in fact, people who say it can’t be done safely are correct,” she says, “you can’t go back and unring that bell.”

That's seven click pages later, through graphics and ads, but back on page one, it is only too obvious that there is more going on here. To the left are two linked data fields; one going to a resource page (potency level rating of 3 out of 5 possible), and one going to “The Companion Article” at CapRadio.

The CapRadio article has great photos, but as the article progresses it becomes apparent that the 'quantified data linguistics' only come from industry, and it's the same frac job, different day. All quotes are from the WSPA/USC Report: Developing The Monterey Shale.

Listen/read the Capital Public Radio's companion report at capradio.org/20628.

CapRadio starts off: The debate over fracking is beginning to take center stage, more than 1,000 protestors from around California came to the state Capitol in mid-March. And the rest of the article, aside from mentioning recent events to halt fracking in Santa Cruz, LA and Carson, is weighted heavily by industry quotes. The central theme for discussion is water usage. And as this article's leading graphic shows, the topic merits review. The CapRadio ending grapgic for the companion article limits the conversation to confusion.

And it was factually more than 4,000 protesters who showed up in Sacramento for the rally March 15, 2014! I watched the Sacramento news that night, the least estimate I heard was 3,000 people.

Don't Frack California! -- Rally in Sacramento on Vimeo

Read an excellent 4 part series by Damien Luzzo to better understand the Sunset Travel Magazine and companion CapRadio articles in their associated complimentary entirety within the larger context of the Symposium on March 6, 2014.

As Damien Luzzo states “the democratic base is beginning to rise up in opposition to fracking and the official democratic party platform in California is calling for an immediate moratorium. The pressure from environmentalists is intensifying, and the anti-fracking movement in California has only just begun.”

Fracking The Golden State: Episode 1 (this is archival material pre SB 4)

Fracking The Golden State: Episode 2

The California Frack Wars: Episode 3

The California Frack Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope

Back at CapRadio; A Tale Of Two Studies

One study is based on algorithms of expansion under economic models with unquantified terms such as 'prudent development' of the Monterey Shale, and a lot of obvious PR. The other study is based on the geologic strata, actual well numbers, production records per well, core analysis by industry logs, source rocks vs migration and trapping timescales, production trends over the course of time, maturity of fields and known reservoir assets vs new exploration, and shifting company profiles and investments.

Drilled: The USC Study, Developing The Monterey Shale - Lacks Credibility

“Considering that some 50,000 wells are required for current California oil production, estimates of more than 200,000 additional wells to grow California production seven-fold (USC’s highest case) are not unreasonable. One might argue that the reference wells chosen by the USC were not representative, and production estimates should have been higher. Even so, tens of thousands of wells would have to be drilled to meet the USC forecasts, far more than the 4,112 wells it considered were necessary by 2030 in its report. Given that the estimates of available locations by the EIA/INTEK report are at most 28,032, and likely to be much less given the above analysis, the oil production estimates in the USC study lack credibility.”
JD Hughes

J. David Hughes published Drilling California: A Reality Check on the Monterey Shale in December 2013 as a response to the UCSB Report. “Drilling California” was published in association with Post Carbon Institute and Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy 2013. Hughes is a geoscientist who has studied the energy resources of Canada for nearly four decades, including 32 years with the Geological Survey of Canada as a scientist and research manager.

How Green Is Your Frac?

“The USC program will feature an introductory video reel with representations of the various perspectives on unconventional gas and oil, followed by a moderated discussion and a question-and-answer session with the audience.

“This event is unique in that we are bringing together expert representatives from all sides of the debate,” said David Auston, executive director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency which is under the aegis of UCSB and funded by the DOE. “It is a critical time in our energy landscape for a balanced discussion like this to take place.”

Panelists Include – and/or represent: 1) President of the Western States Petroleum Association, Catherine Reheis-Boyd who oversees the trade organization’s operations and advocacy in California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii, 2) an investment venture capital firm, 3) the new editor-in-chief of the journal Science who was past director of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4) EDF rep Steven Hamburg.

The discussion will be moderated by journalist and author Jeff Greenfield.

In 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) published a report by INTEK Inc. which stated that the Monterey Formation contains 15.4 billion barrels of technically recoverable tight oil (therein referred to as “shale oil”) 64 percent of the entire estimated tight oil resource in the Lower-48 United States at that time.

This estimate was immediately seized upon by industry groups intent on the development of the Monterey shale, and was used as the basis of a March 2013 University of Southern California (USC) economic analysis which projected Tax revenue collected by California state and local governments could grow by $4.5 billion to $24.6 billion and add from 512,000 to 2.8 million new jobs in California, depending upon the year.

Frackademia is running interference for the industry, as predicted in the 09172013 Common Dreams article originally published in DeSmog Blog. An excellent journalistic research piece on the history of the people, who's financing what groups methods of research, and organizations promoting acquisition of the Public Debate.

When the UCSB report came out in the Spring of 2013, Greenpeace USA's Executive Director Philip Radford unpacked a worst-case scenario of how the report will be used by Big Oil in the coming days, weeks and months.

"At worst, it will be used as PR by the natural gas industry to promote their pollution," he wrote on The Huffington Post. "In fact, methane is 105 times more powerful than carbon pollution as a global warming pollutant, so figuring out its real climate impacts has very real consequences for us going forward."

Food and Water Watch was even more harsh in its assessment of the state of play.

“This industry-sponsored ‘study’ is more spin than science,” Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch said in a press statement. “The Environmental Defense Fund is running interference for the industry, and the result will be more drilling and fracking around the world. A must read perspective.

Public Safeguards In California And Public Policy Are Under Attack 24/7

“The Monterey Shale & California’s Economic Future – USC Global Energy Network
A Joint Initiative of USC Price School of Public Policy & USC Viterbi School of Engineering in association with The Communications Institute.”

“Working from a model created by economists from the University of Southern California (USC) Price School of Public Policy and informed by and applied to a development scenario formulated by the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and blah blah and blah... well it was finally concluded that: “the prudent development of the Monterey Shale could add hundreds of thousands of new jobs to California over the next decade while stimulating economic growth and generating significant new state and local tax revenues.”

The study was funded by a grant from the Western States Petroleum Association but was conducted by an independent USC research team, that said read both documents.

Read them both, and with any intelligence at all one can discern a depth of integrity and clarity of communication in only one of the documents. One study is based on algorithms of expansion in economic models and unquantified terms such as 'prudent development' of the Monterey Shale. And one study is based on the geologic strata, actual well numbers, production amounts per well, core analysis by industry logs, source rocks vs migration and trapping timescales, production trends over the course of time, and maturity of fields and known reservoir assets vs new exploration, and shifting company profiles and investments.

FracNatural The Unconventional Energy Boost!

The USC/WSPA event will be co-hosted by the Institute for Energy Efficiency, the Carsey-Wolf Center and the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. “Game Changer: Unconventional Gas & Oil and the Energy Landscape” is free and open to the public.

Of course fugitive emissions are just one achilles' heel of any green bid for 'fracnatural energy' as a bridge-fuel game changer. There is no bridge, only change.

Steam Injection Is Literally Global Warming

Water From The California Aqueduct
One Small Company, One Oil Field
60 Million Gallons per day
Converted To Steam
Injected Into Wells

Mixing Oil & Water: Published on Oct 4, 2012 This AMERICAN LAND 4 min

Water from the California Aqueduct, turned to steam is injected into the earth.
“We pump 1.4 million barrels of water converted to steam into the ground per day, for 7 days in a row, then we let it soak for 7 days. The thick oil is loosened by the steam.”

A segment of the video is dedicated to the 1000 to 1200 holding ponds in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. Open Pits and 'holding ponds' continue to pollute the landscape as was discussed at the March 21st 2013 DOGGR 'workshop' in Sacramento. Quite a bit of discussion, and seems that liners, they don't actually work!

One piece of good “New” regulation in the current Well Stimulation Regulations under SB 4 is that DOGGR is finally in agreement with SoCal Air Resources Boards and Regional Water Resources Control Boards, many environmental groups, and concerned local residents, and that is to BAN SUMPS, OPEN PITS, and IMPOUNDMENTS.

No liners - No discussion – No pollution – No Holding Ponds, Evaporative Ponds, Open Pits - That took a lot of effort despite overwhelming evidence presented to DOGGR in March of 2013 in Sacramento in the face of denial and verbal contest of factual research on environmental impacts and concerns of contaminates leeching and airborne VOCs, ground level ozone, the list goes on.

Mixing Oil & Water
The movie itself is significant in that it is one of a PBS series, and production is sponsored by the Environment News Trust 501(c3).

Environment News Trust (ENT) is the 501(c)(3) production company behind THIS AMERICAN LAND. Dedicated to producing high-quality video news reports on environmental issues and events, ENT was founded in 2004 by award-winning veteran television correspondent Gary Strieker, the executive producer of THIS AMERICAN LAND.

Add this to the discussion at CapRadio, and the upcoming USC Symposium to Explore ‘Unconventional Gas & Oil and the Energy Landscape’ which features a big oil industry lobbyist, a couple corporate "environmentalists" and the editor of Science magazine, but no opponents of fracking wrote Dan Bacher 02 20 2014

On Thursday, March 6 at 7 p.m., these experts on the issues surrounding unconventional oil and gas will meet at UC Santa Barbara’s Pollock Theater for a discussion on these sources of energy and their impacts on the economy and the environment.

Fracking and Injection Wells Are Associated With Earthquakes Nationwide

Taking into consideration that in the month of March 2014, the Shaky Ground Report is released, the La Habra Earthquake occurs. The Sunset Travel Magazine April Issue is also published and online, which includes a section on seismic concerns on page 4.

And in case you don't find the particular section on well casing structural integrity and vectors for contaminate pathways, here's a direct link:

Cornell Professor Dr Anthony Ingraffea, and Michael Kiparsky. Associate Director for the Wheeler Institute fear that California oil operations could prove particularly vulnerable to well failure because of their proximity to earthquake faults.

The weakest links in the safety chain, according to experts, are the steel casings and cement that line the wells underground. They’re designed to isolate harmful chemicals from the surrounding environment, but they’re far from infallible 6 to 7 percent of new wells drilled failed within 3 years by “compromised structural integrity,” according to Ingraffea’s research. The worst breaches can poison drinking or irrigation water, and Ingraffea says this “is undeniably happening, has happened, will always happen. And it’s not rare.”

Look at where the quotes appear. This is copied direct from the Sunset Travel Magazine article.
BUT what Dr Athony Ingraffea's research actually shows, is that the ascribed rate of failure of 6-7% occurs in the first year. By year 3, it is upwards of 20 per cent, or 1 in 5 wells.

Contaminate Migration Expected Under SB 4 “Well Stimulation Regulations” for California
Thursday Feb 6th, 2014, article with original well failure graph.

View the Sunset article for comparison.

“The state is a very seismically active region,” Kiparsky says. “Might seismic activity cause the type of damage to cementing and casing that could lead to more contamination of groundwater?” Sunset Article: The Future of Fracking in California April 2014 Page 4

As Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering at Cornell, Dr. Anthony Ingraffea has taught fracture mechanics, finite element methods, and structural mechanics at Cornell for 35 years. Dr. Ingraffea's research concentrates on computer simulation and physical testing of complex fracturing processes. He and his students have authored more than 250 papers on this research, and he has twice won the National Research Council/U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics Award for Research in Rock Mechanics (1978, 1991). He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the premier journal in his field, Engineering Fracture Mechanics. Dr. Ingraffea was named one of TIME Magazine's "People Who Mattered" in 2011.

Combined New Frac Technologies with Dr Ingraffea
March 2, 2014 11m 4s

"The problem with articles in professional journals is that they always focus on impacts to a single well. "But we're talking about unconventional drilling, multiple wells per pad, and that means increased well casing structural integrity impacts and sustained casing pressures (leaks).”

Also see the 4 part educational series, “Unconventional Gas From Shale Plays” with Dr Ingraffea titled:
Myths and Realities Related To Human Health Impacts Part 1 (one hour)

Again, for a deeper detailed information packed pictorial accounting of California's subterranean geologic landscape, drilling, frac well locations, waste disposal well locations, faultlines, and complimentary numerical and text data, all tightly bound download: “On Shaky Ground: Fracking, Acidizing, And Increased Earthquake Risk In California”
(36 pages, 3.8 MB)

The report analyzes the earthquake risks associated with an increase in wastewater injection that would result from an expansion of fracking and other unconventional oil production in California.

Released in March 2014, On Shaky Ground: Fracking, Acidizing, and Increased Earthquake Risk in California was produced by Earthworks, The Center for Biological Diversity, and Clean Water Action. Direct download link:

Ban Oil and Gas Development In Mendocino County.
Mendocino County is not currently an oil or gas producing county.
Community Rights Initiatives Rule!

Tomas DiFiore

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by Tomas DiFiore
Wednesday Apr 2nd, 2014 12:50 PM
To understand the role of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) in California politics, the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), California Water Rights and political contributions to Governor Jerry Brown read the current article in the Sacramento Bee, or here at Counterpunch, Weekend Edition March 28-30, 2014; (link provided below) written by founder and editor of Fish Sniffer Magazine, the ever resourceful Dan Bacher.

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) that Reheis-Boyd heads is the most powerful corporate lobbying organization in Sacramento. The organization spent over $4.67 million, more than any other interest group, while lobbying state government in 2013, according to data released by the Secretary State’s Office and compiled by the Capitol Morning Report.

“In her latest post on the WSPA blog, the oil lobbyist/”marine guardian” Catherine Reheis-Boyd slams the Carson City Council’s vote to impose a moratorium on fracking and oil exploration in the city, following in the wake of the LA City Council’s vote to ban fracking.”

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), headed by President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California, is the most powerful corporate lobbying organization in Sacramento.