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The judge has ordered that all drilling be suspended until a plan of action is submitted and accepted

The Obama administration is in a bit of hot water for failing to conduct an environmental impact report before allowing permits for fracking in central California. 

U.S. District Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose ruled that the federal government violated U.S. environmental law by declining to perform an environmental impact study on fracking in the Monterey Formation. 

Fracking is the injection of pressurized sand, water, and chemicals into shale formations, triggering the release of oil and natural gas. It's not a new method of extraction, but combining it with horizontal drilling has taken onshore U.S. energy to a new level.

The problem is, fracking could have a negative impact on the environment -- especially fracking on groundwater. Environmentalists also say that fracking doesn't help the greenhouse gas situation, which scientists say is responsible for global warming.

The Obama administration is interested in two tracts of land on the Monterey Shale Formation (a huge bed of sedimentary rock in Monterey County, California). The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that there are over 15 billion barrels of oil in the 2,500 acres designated for drilling in the Monterey Formation.

While a combination of fracking and horizontal drilling is the best way to retrieve the oil, the Obama administration leased the land without conducting the proper environmental impact study. Hence, the judge has ordered that all drilling be suspended until a plan of action is submitted and accepted.

"The potential risk for contamination from fracking, while unknown, is not so remote or speculative to be completely ignored," Grewal wrote.

Just last month, a team of scientists said oil waste caused a record Oklahoma earthquake (5.7 magnitude) that occurred in 2011. The team said this was uncharacteristic of this area, and that fracking creates seismic instability and may contaminate local water supplies.

However, paid-off politicians are working to keep fracking alive in the area because it generates a load of cash. 

Another study in 2012 said the same thing. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that for the three decades until the year 2000, seismic events across the middle of the nation averaged only 21 per year. Then in 2009, events increased to 50 per year. They then jumped to 87 per year in 2010 and then 134 in 2011. Some are pointing to fracking as the reason for the increase in seismic events across the middle of the United States.

Source: Yahoo News





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