Fracking is Blamed for ... Well, Everything, Really.

Blaming natural phenomena on fracking is this year’s fad, reminiscent of the mood ring, the pet rock or Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Item 1. Vice-President of the United States Joe Biden may not know what hydrofracking is, but he does know that it sounds plenty scary.


“… There’s a thing called fracking. They’ve got to go crack the rock in order to get [oil and gas] out. You can environmentally do that well or you can environmentally do that poorly,” the vice president said.

“If you do it poorly, you use up the water aquifer. [Huh?! – Ed.] You can create, in some cases the argument is, earthquakes,” he concluded.

Mr. Biden was referring to a string of minor tremors over the past year in the Youngstown, Ohio, area, including a 4.0 quake that shook the city on New Year’s Eve.

But state officials have confirmed that the temblors were the result of a wastewater-disposal well, not fracking itself.

As I commented at the time, the problem here is not that frack fluid is being injected. Mother Gaia is indifferent to whether the fluid is frack water, bong water or mother’s milk. Fracking is not the culprit; if you inject lots of fluid into an existing fault zone, that may create a problem, but its a problem best addressed by state authorities. They are in a much better position to appreciate local geomechanics than is a Federal agency like the EPA.

The evidence here reveals one thing that is definitely caused by hydraulic fracturing: Vice-Presidential confusion.

Item 2. Is hydrofracking causing the mysterious Clintonville (WI) booms?


Um, no.

I first asked the question on March 28: Who will be the first to blame Clintonville WI “booms” on #fracking?

Since then, my blog registers several hits a day from Google searches containing the words “Clintonville” and “fracking”. When I did my own search, this was one of the most popular hits:
This is a breathless video from a young man who knows that there must be some connection between oil and gas fracking and the Clintonville booms, but his concept of fracking is fuzzier than V.P. Biden’s hairline.

In it, there is reference made to a map of “fracking sites in Wisconsin” (reproduced at right). Very interesting indeed, because there is no oil and gas drilling in Wisconsin.

Closer inspection shows that the sites identified on the map are sources of frac sand. Fracking uses lots of plain, old quartz sand. Sand that’s pure, round-grained and of uniform grain size works best. But the sand comes from a plain old sand pit, just like the sand that would be used in construction, glassmaking or a kid’s play yard.

Mother Gaia must know that She’s going to be violated with this particular sand, because she puts up quite a fuss. Why Clintonville, WI became ground zero for Her wrath is anybody’s guess.


I’ll leave that to the smart guys, like Joe Biden.

For those who may have a lingering suspicion that old Vladimir is full of crapola and that the Clintonville booms just might have some connection to oil and gas drilling activity, consider the map below. It is a map of all the oil and gas drilling activity in the upper Midwest.

The blue triangles denote rigs drilling for oil, while the red circles indicate rigs drilling for gas.

Moral of the story: There may be a spot in the Lower 48 that is more remote from drilling activity than Clintonville, Wisconsin, but you’ll have to look a good while to find it.

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