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California fracking debate heats up

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User ID: 25801142
United States
12/26/2012 09:37 PM
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California fracking debate heats up
Less than 50%

While fracking has been big news for a while in Pennsylvania, North Dakota and elsewhere in the country, it has yet to become a popular topic of dinner conversation in California. That's likely going to change.

Don Gautier, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told Lauren Sommer that while fracking has actually been used in California for decades, "a bit of a Gold Rush mentality concerning shale oil" currently exists.

"What is new right now is that the price of oil is reasonably high," Gautier said. "This technology has become very sophisticated. So these explorationists are justifiably optimistic about the idea of being able to get out oil that couldn’t have been accessed just a few decades ago."

And some environmentalists aren't happy about it.

“There is absolutely a danger of California being transformed almost overnight, as other areas of the country have been when the fracking boom hits,” Kassie Siegel, a lawyer with the non-profit Center for Biological Diversity, told Lauren Sommer. “In other parts of the country, we’ve seen contaminated water. We’ve seen people who live near oil and gas wells complaining of health effects.”

Whether those impacts are specifically caused by fracking is under debate, says Sommer. But in any event, the success of the technology means that companies are more confident in their ability to extract oil efficiently and economically, and they're ready to bring these improved techniques to California, which boasts the country's largest shale oil resource.

More [link to blogs.kqed.org]
Omniscient1 (OP)

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12/26/2012 09:40 PM
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Re: California fracking debate heats up
Last week, California issued draft regulations for fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, an increasingly popular but controversial method of oil and natural gas retrieval.


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