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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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Tiffany, try to be objective
By Dorkyman on 4/9/2013 7:00:45 PM , Rating: 2
Fracking does not hurt groundwater. Numerous studies have shown this. All the action occurs far, far, below the water tables, separated by great distance and impermeable rock. Those that claim otherwise are doing so in the name of their religion--they cannot and will not be swayed by facts.

The movie that showed how one could light tap water conveniently forgot to mention that one could light tap water at that location years before any drilling took place. It's because there was/is a lot of dissolved methane in the water.

Please don't allow zealots to influence your writing.

RE: Tiffany, try to be objective
By Noonecares on 4/9/13, Rating: 0
RE: Tiffany, try to be objective
By superflex on 4/10/2013 4:03:09 PM , Rating: 1
You've obviously never seen the working end of a drill rig have you? Probably never worked a day in your life out in the field.
You read a wiki entry about fracking fluid and immediately assume the same fracking fluid is used to lubricate the borehole. Drilling mud is not fracking fluid. Drilling mud is a water based mixture of sodium bentonite and a polymer and is non toxic.
Please educate yourself before running your verbal diarrhea again.
Your internet degree in environmental studies just got revoked

RE: Tiffany, try to be objective
By mike66 on 4/9/13, Rating: 0
By StevoLincolnite on 4/10/2013 12:14:17 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget about the mining companies who are ruining our land by dumping all their rubbish and toxic substances in serene area's then simply burying them.

RE: Tiffany, try to be objective
By MadMan007 on 4/10/2013 12:52:41 AM , Rating: 2
It's far too early in the development of fracking to make conclusive statements yet. The long-term effects on the environment are also unpredictable. It's best to keep an open mind and be rational about information as it comes out rather than take a predetermined stance that won't change.

RE: Tiffany, try to be objective
By BRB29 on 4/10/2013 8:38:20 AM , Rating: 2
Fracking theoretically sounds fantastic. But so far, all the people telling you that works for these companies. There has not been an independent study on fracking yet. Don't worry, you will see results by the end of 2014 because the USGS will field scientists and collect water and soil samples on fracking sites and surrounding areas. They will also research about fracking and earthquakes.

So far, the only thing we know about fracking is that it has a high correlation with earthquakes in the area such as Oklahoma. That is done by statistics because well....because it's impossible to find exact reason why an earthquake go off. Else, we'd be able to predict it already.

RE: Tiffany, try to be objective
By MadMan007 on 4/10/2013 9:17:39 AM , Rating: 2
I also understand that companies will be required to disclose the chemical makeup of their fracking solution. I understand the competitive reasons to want to keep the formulas proprietary, although I seriously doubt the ability to truly do so, but when we're talking about adding stuff that is potentially harmful to deep groundwater the benefits of disclosure take precedence.

RE: Tiffany, try to be objective
By BRB29 on 4/10/2013 9:54:51 AM , Rating: 2
i agree with you. I do believe fracking leads to harmful effects to the environment. Pretty much anything we do does. The question is how much. All this BS about impermeable sediment layers blahblahblah is just wrong. We all know nothing is impermeable. Have we not learned anything from all the containment problems of radioactive wastes?

Anyways, I am looking forward to the results of my coworkers.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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