Fracking a costly, false fuel hope

Last week the Wall Street Journal posted an article with an optimistic premise: the United States is now the largest producer of fossil fuels on the planet.

My immediate reaction was skepticism. I went to the WSJ website and listened to an interview with a reporter in Houston covering this development. Some details emerged: 1) most of the fossil fuel generation was due to enhanced natural gas generation from fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and 2) fracking is expensive and 3) as a result, oil produced from fracking only makes sense if the price of oil stays above $90 per barrel. This explains why even with the recent oil shale boom, gasoline prices are still hovering above $3 per gallon.

I decided to investigate recent oil production trends. I went to the U.S Energy Information Administration website and uncovered a graph “U.S. Field Production Crude Oil.” I observed the following: 1920 national oil production was 443 million barrels per year, peak production in 1970 was 3,517 million barrels per year and the lowest production since peak was 1,830 million barrels per year in 2008. 2012 production was 2,375 million barrels per year. My conclusion is that fracking has increased domestic oil production by about 25 percent.

The Wall Street Journal has it right about fracking. It is expensive. Not only are there huge energy costs to inject fluids at high pressure to fracture rock, but consider these costs to our environment: 250 billion gallons of fresh water consumed to generate 280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater, 360,000 acres of land degraded. Fracking is false hope.

Eric Teegarden

Brier

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Monday, Nov. 20

A sketchy look at the day in politics.… Continue reading

Editorial: School funding half-full, half-empty, but not ample

The Supreme Court says the state’s school funding plan won’t meet its deadline. So there’s work to do.

Simoneaux: In service of science, a month among icebergs

A NOAA ship takes scientists into an Antarctic ice field, when the path out starts to close in.

Saunders: Trump not repeating mistakes he made on ACA repeal

The president is taking care not to alienate Senate Republicans before the vote on tax reform.

Milbank: Not hearing what they want to, GOP simply ignores

Nonpartisan arbiters of fact are being disregarded on tax law, health care and judicial worthiness.

Snohomish PUD hydro project will harm salmon

A Nov. 9 article in The Herald focused on declining salmon and… Continue reading

Frontier should keep lifeline payphones in service

The public telephone at the Verlot service ranger station is a service… Continue reading

Vote makes it clear: No pot shops in Snohomish

The advisory vote on Proposition 1 in Snohomish on retail marijuana sales… Continue reading

Why gut Medicaid to pay for bombs?

Donald Trump, in a fit of pique over not being able to… Continue reading

Most Read