Friday, January 1, 2010

To many Unknowns

Yesterday, ProPublica published a particularly interesting article regarding the unknowns of natural gas drilling. In the article, Abraham Lustgarten paints a clear picture of the fact that we really don't know enough about natural gas drilling. Sure, you can assume that fractures in the shale a mile below the ground aren't going to spread far enough to contaminate water, and, if you are on the other end of the spectrum, you can assume that these fractures extending into aquifers is a logical progression of the process. Sadly, there is so much we don't know about the chemical mix that is used for hydraulic fracturing, that
"proof" can be difficult to find. Which brings me back to my usual spiel about regulations. Given all the unknowns of the drilling process and its impacts, regulations at the county level are of the utmost importance. Comprehensive county oil and gas ordinances that require extensive studies before permits are issued minimize the risks and, I believe, will also help us all clear up some of the unknowns surrounding natural gas drilling because of the required studies.

Click here to read the Propublica article published yesterday.