Frackin’ Facts With Comments – Part 2

by Duane Nichols on June 11, 2014

Take Me Home Country Roads -- Woops

Commentary by S. Tom Bond, Jane Lew, Lewis County, WV

And now to focus our attention on West Virginia . .

1. Regulations & Enforcement. EPA’s goals do not have the force of law, making way for a national patchwork of inspection policies. In Indiana, where pollution review rules apparently are observed, 91 percent of all facilities have been inspected in the last five years. In West Virginia, only 25 percent have been inspected. See map of all states.!/vizhome/shared/C863MWGWW

“Open for Business?” This is what you might call “spread eagle” for the extraction industry.

2. Over 1.1 Million Active Oil and Gas Wells in the US. In WV, the conventional well count is 59,514; for shale 3,696; for a total of 63,910, as of May 2014.

At $100,000 a crack for plugging, those shale wells will cost $369,600,000 to plug. That’s a third of a billion dollars. And just where will that come from? Anybody want to bet it won’t be the public purse? Just like the 100 year old abandoned coal mines the federal government is remediating in West Virginia. Maybe the next time the New Madrid seismic zone cuts loose with a quake that rings bells in Boston, the Marcellus area will have geysers from unplugged abandoned wells all over it!

3. $$$ Investments. An estimated $153.7 billion was invested in drilling approximately 46,736 oil and natural gas wells in 2012, according to API’s 2012 Joint Association Survey on Drilling Costs. The investment represents a 23.1 percent increase over 2011 levels.

That wouldn’t pay the national debt, but it would sure buy a lot of research toward what-ever-it-is that gas is supposed to “bridge to” somewhere in the future.

4. Split Estates. Alan Collins, a professor at West Virginia University, discovered that 70 percent of new permits on private land in West Virginia were on split estates, meaning the decision to lease the land for gas drilling was controlled by someone who didn’t live on the property.

No surprise if you live in the Northwest of West Virginia. More like surprised where they found 30% of the gas was owned by the surface owner.

5. Political Influence. Almost half (46 percent) of Governor Tomblin’s $7.6 million in campaign contributions amassed in recent years has come from industry pockets, according to data compiled by the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign finance.

You have to go where the money is. If your state lacks diverse industry, you have to expect politicians to go to the obvious places (and the lawyers for those companies).

>>> Global Warming >>> The least understood fact about global warming …

Most people think that if we quit putting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the earth will stop warming. Not so. It will keep on warming for thousands of years at the same rate as this year. Only very slowly will the rate of heating go down, over millennia, while the heating will continue. Carbon dioxide is very slowly removed by nature. The rush to get the carbon dioxide stopped is to prevent increasing the rate of heating from what it will be as a result of what has been dumped already.

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