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Fracking Linked to Earthquakes and Methane Gas Leaks

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The scientific case against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, continues to strengthen, leaving little doubt that it is harmful to the environment and creates health concerns for those who live near fracking sites.

Cornell University engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea explained on the latest Inquiring Minds podcast that the research extends beyond groundwater contamination, to include earthquake generation and the accidental emissions of the greenhouse gas methane, MotherJones.com reported.

Ingraffea said on the podcast he believes there is now a scientific consensus that human-induced seismicity does occur as a result of a particular aspect of unconventional gas drilling, specifically the disposing of chemically laden water in underground wastewater injection wells.

Ingraffea knows a thing or two about the fracking industry as he spent between 20 and 25 years working with the oil and gas industry, attempting to figure out how best to get oil and gas out of rock, according to MotherJones.com. However, recent studies have convinced him that the practice is causing far more problems than anyone could have imagined years ago.

A study conducted last month found the underground storing of the chemical-containing water that comes out of wells after fracking can contribute to earthquakes. Researchers for the study, published in Science, believe that a spike in recent earthquakes in Oklahoma is connected to he increase of wastewater disposal wells, MotherJones.com reported.

Ingraffea explains that the fracking industry has been mobilized pre-existing, stable faults and that underground water from waste disposal lubricates those faults and increases the pressure on them. It is no surprise at issue then that the waste injection wells are the ones that are closest to faults, MotherJones.com reported.

The issue of methane gas may be even more concerning.

In 2011, Ingraffea, along with two other Cornell researchers, published a scientific study claiming that between 3.6 and 7.9 percent of methane gas released from fracking operations escapes into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming. Considering methane is about 80 to 90 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, over a two-to-three-decade time period, the implications could be immense, Ingraffea said.

In July, California ordered an emergency shutdown of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites amid concerns companies may have been pumping tracking liquids and other waste into drinking water aquifers.

California’s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) gave cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting flacking fluids into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water. The DOGGR said that their waste disposal “poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources,” GantDaily.com reported.

The order came at a time when central California had been enduring a lengthy drought that emptied reservoirs and cost the state $2.2 billion this year alone, according to GantDaily.com.

breakinglawsuitnews.com disclaimer: This article: Fracking Linked to Earthquakes and Methane Gas Leaks was posted on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at 2:15 pm at breakinglawsuitnews.com and is filed under Toxic Substances Lawsuits.

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