The greens smear natural gas, while natural gas producers smear coal.
Though I write to defend the natural gas industry from the junk science hurled at it and the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), I do so with mixed emotions.
Two recent government reports, one from the United Kingdom and the other from Oklahoma, have tried to draw a connection between fracking and seismic activity occurring in those areas. In the UK, the seismic activity registered 3 on the Richter scale (vibrations similar to a passing truck). In Oklahoma, the activity registered between 1.0 and 2.8. Neither report could attribute with any certainty the seismic activity to the local fracking, as that would be nearly impossible to do given the multifactorial nature of seismic activity.
So: of the more than one million fracking or fracking-like operations that have occurred, unattributable seismic activity has been detected twice. Moreover, no structural damage was attributed to any of the seismic activity.
Scientifically and from a risk management perspective, fracking should be off the hook. But of course it’s not, because radical environmentalists loathe fracking — cheap natural gas means that the world won’t be giving up fossil fuels anytime soon — and so they have their long knives out for it. You can safely bet that anytime seismic activity coincides with fracking activity, they will use that coincidence to whip up fear.