Shale Boom or Shale Bubble?

October 14, 2013 • Alan Septoff

Deborah Rogers, internationally renowned fracking economics expert, to present and take questions

As Colorado's Front Range communities wrestle with hydraulic fracturing-enabled oil and gas development, residents should know the fracking boom may provide only a short period of oil and gas abundance before collapsing in an economic bust.

Fracking the Eagle Ford — TCEQ’s nondenial

September 30, 2013 • Alan Septoff

Energy in Depth responded to our report on TCEQ's regulatory malfeasance: Reckless Endangerment while fracking the Eagle Ford - Government fails, public health suffers and industry profits from the shale oil boom.

Rather than respond on the substance, EID chose to attack Earthworks.

To paraphrase Isaac Asimov, ad hominem attacks are the last refuge of those without a leg to stand on.

The central revelations of the report are not in dispute:

The biased fracking debate – Pennsylvania’s contribution

August 28, 2013 • Alan Septoff

On Monday, I blogged about the biased mainstream fracking debate citing the Associated Press – which, so slow to acknowledge the health risks of fracking-enabled oil and gas drilling, was very quick to cite fracking’s (speculative) health benefits.

Today, it’s state government’s turn.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection was legally mandated to publish a report by spring of 2012 on how climate change will affect the state. It has missed the deadline, and there’s no telling when it will be published.

One reason for the missed deadline? State government pressured Penn State report authors to remove mention of science showing natural gas’s potential climate impacts.

The biased mainstream fracking debate

August 26, 2013 • Alan Septoff

Yesterday’s Associated Press story about the health impacts of fracking-enabled oil and gas drilling in southwest Pennsylvania inadvertently reveals the bias that underlies much of the “mainstream” fracking debate.

The story covers results from the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project’s study:* fracking-enabled oil and gas development harms the health of residents living nearby.

One might think that a story about fracking’s threat to human health shows how robust the debate is – or even that there’s an environmental bias in fracking reporting.  But one would be wrong.

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One fracking test does not safety make

July 19, 2013 • Alan Septoff

The AP today reports that a “landmark” study of one fracked well shows that, over a year’s time, it did not contaminate groundwater.

We’re very glad this is the case, especially for the neighboring community.

But the fact that one well didn’t contaminate groundwater doesn’t prove that fracking is safe.  No one has ever claimed that every instance of fracking pollutes groundwater.  As any statistician worth their salt will tell you, a sample size of one does not a valid study make.

Fracking impacted families speak truth to power at the People’s Forum

May 23, 2013 • Alan Septoff

The Stop the Frack Attack network (of which Earthworks is a part) held a People's Forum yesterday.

As the Bureau of Land Management weakened fracking regulations at the oil and gas industry's request, as the Senate Energy committee held a forum without a single impacted citizen, sixteen people living with the negative impacts of the fracking boom stood up and told their stories.

Harvard study: Frac Focus puts fracking company convenience ahead of public’s right to know

April 24, 2013 • Alan Septoff

Thanks to two great stories by E&E’s Mike Soraghan, we know that the Harvard Law School has evaluated FracFocus.org and found government (and the public) shouldn’t rely upon it.

In short, Harvard says FracFocus is inadequate for at least three reasons:

  1. It is hard to determine when and if companies make disclosures.
  2. The data contained within FracFocus isn’t vetted – it consists of whatever the company reports.
  3. Secrecy claims made by companies aren’t vetted – FracFocus allows for unchallenged and extremely broad disclosure exemptions made at the company’s discretion.

Memorable Moment #2: the Protection of the Valle Vidal

March 22, 2013 • Alan Septoff

We are celebrating our 25th year since our founding by marking 25 of our most memorable moments protecting communities and the since Earthworks was founded in 1988.

New Mexico’s Valle Vidal is one of our nation’s truly special places. The Valle Vidal, which means “living valley,” is located in the lush Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico between Cimarron and Costilla. It is often referred to as New Mexico’s “Yellowstone”. This 100,000 acre paradise inside Carson National Forest is a crucial watershed and home to a wide range of wildlife such as mountain lions, bears, turkeys, cutthroat trout, and the largest elk herd in New Mexico. It is a critical winter habitat for these wild animals as well.