Never let the facts get in the way of creating a law banning fracking

Ignorance is no excuse under the law, but apparently creating laws based on ignorance is quite all right.

As we recounted earlier, Democratic Assemblyman Justin Watkins is seeking a ban on fracking.

His Assembly Bill 159 would amend state law by adding: “A person shall not engage in hydraulic fracturing in this State. As used in this section, ‘hydraulic fracturing’ means the process of pumping fluid into or under the surface of the ground to create fractures in the rock to facilitate the production or recovery of oil or gas.”

Watkins is pressing forward with his ban. According an article posted today at the Las Vegas Sun website:

But Watkins said the bill would prohibit only fracking, and that drilling could continue. Because the fracking industry is in such an early stage, he said the legislation would not cost a job. He also said when economic impact is so speculative, legislators should focus on the value of water in one of the country’s most arid states.

“Here, water is the most valuable resource we have,” Watkins said. “To put it into significant danger of contamination … as a trade-off for so little oil … doesn’t make any sense for us.”

The article was not worthy of being printed for the remaining thousands who get the morning newspaper with the Sun insert’s one local story a day.

The “fracking industry” has been around since the Civil War and hydraulic fracking has been used since the World War II, take it from someone who actually worked in the grease orchard.

More than half of all oil production in the U.S. in 2015, whether using horizontal drilling or not, came from fracked wells. Currently, 46 percent of all natural gas production in the country comes from shale, tight sandstone and coal formations that once were not profitable. Also, 90 percent of all natural gas wells drilled require fracking at some point during production.

And threats to groundwater are negligible, as the EPA found despite looking diligently and quibbling in its final report.

The Sun story quotes geologist Bill Ehni as saying, “If that bill were to pass, the oil industry would basically disappear in Nevada.”


19 comments on “Never let the facts get in the way of creating a law banning fracking

  1. Steve says:

    Add to this the fact that US oil production is setting the world price and kicking OPEC in the ass, trying to stop this country from fracking anywhere in the borders is just slapping ourselves in the face while providing comfort for Middle East Oil producers….you all know the ones I describe, those oil producing nations that hate us so much but can’t wait to take our dollars so they use them against us.

    Frack baby, frack!

  2. Rincon says:

    Maybe the WSJ headline writers are liberal shills. I was too lazy to sign up for spam in order to look at your entire link, Thomas, but the headline suggests a more than “negligible” threat to ground water: “Fracking Can Taint Drinking Water, EPA Report Finds”. Just to be sure, I looked up EPA regarding fracking and here is what I found:

    “EPA found scientific evidence that hydraulic fracturing activities can impact drinking water resources under some circumstances. The report identifies certain conditions under which impacts from hydraulic fracturing activities can be more frequent or severe:

    Water withdrawals for hydraulic fracturing in times or areas of low water availability, particularly in areas with limited or declining groundwater resources;
    Spills during the handling of hydraulic fracturing fluids and chemicals or produced water that result in large volumes or high concentrations of chemicals reaching groundwater resources;
    Injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids into wells with inadequate mechanical integrity, allowing gases or liquids to move to groundwater resources;
    Injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids directly into groundwater resources;
    Discharge of inadequately treated hydraulic fracturing wastewater to surface water; and
    Disposal or storage of hydraulic fracturing wastewater in unlined pits resulting in contamination of groundwater resources.”

    Negligible threat? Sure you’re not just leaping at what what you want to hear?

    Nevertheless, I don’t believe a total ban is reasonable. Required monitoring of nearby groundwater. as I understand is the case in Nevada, goes a long way in making it safer.

  3. Rincon says:

    One more detail: Groundwater cannot be effectively monitored if the monitoring party has no idea what to look for, so disclosure (not necessarily public) is necessary as well.

  4. Anonymous says:


    The problem with the EPA’s “study” is that the EPA didn’t do the study. In fact, after initiating it, they turned the “study” over to the state of Wyoming. And the State of Wyoming turned the study over to Encarta, an energy company, who in spite of having lots of evidence that the groundwater in Wyoming was being contaminated by fracking, “found” that there was only good reason to believe that fracking caused groundwater contamination.

    The EPA under Obama LOVED fracking; why do you think it is that the graphs Thomas cited above show an absolute EXPLOSION of fracking results beginning in 2008 and not before. Of course, the Obama administration’s EPA didn’t “find” groundwater contamination; they didn’t want to, which is why they turned their “study” over to a state notorious for looking the other way when it comes to environmental concerns and the oil and gas industry. To make things even worse, that already environmentally NOT conscious state, then turned the study over to an energy concern, which had concerns other than the environment.

    And, as you said, it would be difficult if not impossible, to figure out the extent to which the groundwater was contaminated by the chemicals used in fracking, since the industry, along with the Obama administrations EPA said that the industry didn’t have to divulge that information.

    It’s all a sick joke played on innocent citizens who just want to drink clean water, by an industry that wants only to make more money for their shareholders. With the cheering of people that apparently love billionaires making money more than they do their fellow citizens being able to drink clean water.

    Here’s a good article that explains how the study was corrupted by an EPA more interesting in making sure that frackers could contaminate ground water, than with protecting the public.

  5. Rincon says:

    A very dismaying article. It illustrates how people look at things differently depending on whose ox is being gored. “The state had tested people’s water wells and detected 19 concerning chemicals. But regulators had concluded that only two chemicals exceeded safe limits and the water could be used for domestic purposes. EPA disagreed. Nearly half the 19 chemicals are unstudied, and scientists do not know the safe level of exposure, EPA stated.” So the state did nothing. Exactly what antigovernment types prefer. I suspect their view would be different if it was water delivered to their own homes.

  6. Key Findings
     Based on the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s (WDEQ’s) June and August 2014 sampling of the 13 water supply wells, other than a pesticide (beta-BHC) and a phthalate ester [bis (2-ethylhexyl phthalate)], no organic compounds were identified at concentrations exceeding applicable drinking water standards. Phthalate is used as a plasticizer in flexible PVC plastics and is a common laboratory contaminant.
    o Inorganic compounds that were found over applicable drinking water standards are generally associated with naturally occurring salts, metals and radionuclides. Industrial applications may use some of these same compounds (e.g. oil and gas drilling mud contains chloride and potassium).
    o All organic constituents identified in groundwater samples at concentrations less than drinking water standards or comparison values may have originated from a multitude of possible sources, including spills, oil and gas activities, agricultural chemical applications, and other residential and industrial uses.
     Evidence does not indicate that hydraulic fracturing fluids have risen to shallow depths utilized by water-supply wells. Also, based on an evaluation of hydraulic fracturing history, and methods used in the Pavillion Gas Field, it is unlikely that hydraulic fracturing has caused any impacts to the water-supply wells.
     Gas in the upper Wind River Formation appears to have originated mainly from upward migration from deeper commercial gas-bearing zones and evidence suggests that upward gas seepage (or gas charging of shallow sands) was happening naturally before gas well development.

    Click to access 03_Fact-Sheet-for-the-Pavillion-Wyoming-Area-Domestic-Water-Wells-Final-%20Report.pdf

  7. deleted says:

    Another piece that ought to sicken anyone who either drinks water, or knows someone that likes to drink water.

    From the people responsible for “finishing” the Obama administrations EPA study, Encana, and how that company contaminated the groundwater in Alberta Canada by use of frackng fluids, all the while lying about it, and subverting the regulatory authority in Canada before they started dong the same thing in Wyoming.

  8. Water wells are shallow. Oil and gas wells are deep.

  9. deleted says:

    Sorry Thomas, I don’t understand the point your trying to make.

    The article shows how the same people that finished the study, the EPA turned over to the state of Wyoming, contaminated the drinking water wells in Alberta, and also Wyoming.

  10. Rincon says:

    1) I think you’re a little too quick to dismiss the phthalates. According to several sources, phthalates are commonly used in fracking fluid. Here’s one that includes it in a short list of common fracking chemicals: Is this lab so sloppy that they contaminate their samples with chemicals that they are supposed to be detecting? And then, they merely dismiss it without checking to see if the source was indeed their own procedures?

    2) Were the ingredients in the fracking fluid known? If not, then many may have gone undetected.

    3) What was the source of the pesticides? They didn’t bother to look for it? Would you drink that water?

    5) My source stated that nearly half of the 19 compounds of concern were unstudied. You said only two were at unsafe levels. If nearly half weren’t studied, then how do they know what a safe level is? Would you drink that water? And where did these mostly organic chemicals come from?

    6) “Water wells are shallow. Oil and gas wells are deep.” Is it not true that the fracking fluids are injected past the water bearing rock and then are again brought past the water bearing rock on the way out? And do you think that, once on the surface, they just magically disappear? They are stored on the surface for an indeterminate time. Plenty of opportunity for groundwater contamination.

  11. Rincon says:

    And I still haven’t run out of gas 🙂

    7) Even with the inorganic compounds, I see no statement that the levels are consistent with those existing prior to drilling. No prior samples available, I trust? Very sloppy. Those are a golden opportunity for an innocent company to bombproof itself from expensive allegations. Even if the inorganic compounds (organic ones are conveniently left out of this) are naturally occurring, is the water more toxic than before the fracking or not?

    An example that we’re all familiar with is sodium chloride, good old table salt. In large amounts, it is quite poisonous as it is in excessive small amounts over time, even though there are trace amounts naturally occurring. Any elevation contributes to the water’s toxicity by definition, since the average American diet already contains toxic amounts of salt. Adding more increases toxicity by definition. Obviously, the amount is crucial, but sodium could easily be present in amounts lower than the maximum allowed, but still be definitively harmful. This applies to many inorganic chemicals.

  12. Nevada rules require pretesting.

  13. Steve says:

    The bore hole walls used to fail. This was in the early days of horizontal drilling.
    Things have, since, significantly improved with few if any new complaints of water well contamination reported.
    Much of the waster water is recycled for more fracking and some is used to treat roads in winter.
    The rest is stored or deep injected.
    Waste water is injected back into the ground well below the water table, again issues from this activity were in the early days of its own beginnings. These include local earthquakes wrongly attributed to fracking.
    This particular activity is currently being halted by companies and states.

    This is a battle that is being won by current regulation and publicity.
    I don’t see why liberals remain so upset, unless they really want to hand all the petro power back to the Middle East and OPEC.

  14. Rincon says:

    “Nevada rules require pretesting.” I thought this was Wyoming we’ve been talking about.

    Whether the methods are theoretically safe doesn’t wash in the real world. The Fukushima power plant was also theoretically safe. Pretesting and disclosure of fracking fluid ingredients (not necessarily public) are necessary.

  15. deleted says:

    What frackers and their sycophants are doing to this country’s water is a tragedy. A VERY good article.

    “Ron Gulla, a landowner in Washington County, Pa., continues to battle the oil and gas industry in court over fracking. He said his pond turned black after a fracked well was drilled on his land in 2005. He has since moved to another home but remains in litigation.

    Thomas YoungCourtesy of UC Davis
    Gulla said he complained to state and federal regulators but there was little follow up.

    Before the report’s final conclusion today, Gulla said neither agency protected him.

    “We were all on our own and we cried out and we cried out,” he said.”

  16. Steve says:


    early days of horizontal drilling and an undying government vs the ordinary average guy

    Patrick has found his own version of “Wayne Hage”

  17. deleted says:

    “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued a final report on the connection between hydraulic fracturing and contamination in drinking water. After stressing in June 2015 that there was no “widespread, systematic impact” on water, the agency now is emphasizing that fracking can affect drinking water under some circumstances.”

  18. […] More than half of all oil production in the U.S. in 2015, whether using horizontal drilling or not, came from fracked wells. Currently, 46 percent of all natural gas production in the country comes from shale, tight sandstone and coal formations that once were not profitable. Also, 90 percent of all natural gas wells drilled require fracking at some point during production. […]

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