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The Monterey Shale, Fracking For Oil And San Diego Concerns


The Monterey Shale, Fracking For Oil And San Diego Concerns

Aired 9/25/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Richard Behl, Professor, Department of Geological Sciences,Cal State Long Beach

Peg Mitchell, Environmentalist, Sierra Club of San Diego


It has been compared to the early days of the California Gold Rush: the oil industry is converging on what's believed to be one of the world's largest onshore reserves of shale oil.

The reserve is known as the Monterey Formation, which stretches 1,700 miles from Southern California to the San Joaquin basin. The Department of Energy estimates it could hold as much as 15 billion barrels of oil, but getting to that oil isn't easy: The hard rock formation requires a process known as hydraulic fracturing — or "fracking" — to crack open the shale rock and remove oil.

However, fracking is controversial. There are concerns about its effect on groundwater and even fault lines.

On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 4 into law, the nation’s strictest law for hydraulic fracturing and the first for California. The oil industry isn't happy about it, nor are environmentalists who say it's not enough.

We take a look at how hydraulic fracturing may play out in California, and what effect it may have on us here in San Diego.

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Avatar for user 'fineanyou'

fineanyou | September 25, 2013 at 12:37 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

While Ms. Mitchell frequently frequently said "we don't know, so we should.... (delay/halt/oppose) fracking", she was quite clear at the end to indicate that her real problem is with the use of any oil or gas. She also commented that further natural gas exploration would diminish air quality in CA and actually reverse the gains made over the past couple of decades.

There are many out there who DO KNOW and have been dealing with this technology safely for decades. There are mountains of statistics and studies that have been completed with the findings that horizontal drilling and fracking is a safe process.
Many of the airborne emissions reductions we've seen in California are due in no small part to the use of natural gas as a replacement for diesel in many truck and bus fleets and throughout the state. A local example would be the implementation of the natural gas refuse haulers whose decreases in emissions were relied upon for the development of a local power plant.

Natural Gas for automobiles in Oklahoma City is currently selling for $1.17/gal and their state is funding a conversion for private vehicles in a state which produces natural gas. How do you think they're enjoying the benefits of this type of exploration?

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Avatar for user 'james_mcfadden'

james_mcfadden | September 26, 2013 at 9:23 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

SB4 is a weak-noodle bill that will do nothing except give Big Oil cover as it continues its exploitation of resources, pollution of the planet, manipulation of oil markets, and its efforts to lead us to climate hell. CA is getting sold a pig-in-a-poke with fracking. It’s time to debunk some of the Big Oil mythology: 1) “Energy independence Myth” –There is no energy independence in a global market where oil and gas are shipped to the highest bidder. 2) “Fracking technology is powering an economic boom Myth” – Booms are followed by busts and the issue should be whether the short-term profits to Big Oil are worth the long term polluted aquifers, health problems, eye sores, and climate chaos that the rest of us must live with and cleanup. 3) “Natural Gas from fracking is a bridge fuel to the future Myth” – The “bridge metaphor” indicates we are building something, and that “future” is supposed to be sustainable energy. However, the natural gas boom is building none of this needed sustainable infrastructure but is instead allowing Obama to continue to subsidize Big Oil’s continued extraction of fossil fuels. The “bridge fuel myth” is propaganda to make us think we are doing something when we continue to do more of the same polluting. 4) “Monterey Shale development will create millions of jobs Myth” – The USC frackademic study is a total fraud paid for by Big Oil. Government studies show that anticipated jobs would not even register on CA’s employment rate. 5) “Monterey shale will be an economic boom Myth” - The Monterey Shale hype is a scam generated by Occidental Petroleum to create a new bubble market in bundled mining rights to swindle investors (like the bundled mortgage backed securities bubble that popped in 2008). This is the same pyramid scheme playing out in North Dakota. The people of CA, like the people of N. Dakota, will be left with poisoned water impacting our agriculture, fracking stench impacting our health, and eye sores that will drive down property values. 6) “CA is a strict regulator Myth” – DOGGR has been asleep at the wheel for decades and has failed to even monitor fracking, let alone study its impact on health/environment/economy. DOGGR has been infiltrated by Big Oil and does their bidding. SB4 will do nothing to regulate fracking – only start a process of data collection. It is a weak noodle bill. We need to defuse this “fracking carbon bomb” now and tell our governor that “clean energy works”. We need to call Jerry Brown and tell him “No Fracking Way – Don’t Frack California”.

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