The final version of the California Council on Science & Technology study required under interim approval of hydraulic fracturing in the Golden State reported July 9 that despite public concerns, there is no “science-based evidence” that fracking hurts the environment.
The report is a crushing blow to the California’s powerful environmental movement, which now appears to have failed to stop America’s next oil boom.
The California Council on Science & Technology, in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, recently released its 858-page peer-reviewed independent scientific assessment produced for the California Natural Resources Agency. The study focused on “how hydraulic fracturing and acid well stimulation could affect water, atmosphere, seismic activity, wildlife and vegetation, and human health in California.” The report also sought to identify “knowledge gaps and alternative practices that could avoid or mitigate these possible impacts.”
Dr. Jens Birkholzer, the Principal Investigator of the assessment and Division Deputy of Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division stated, “A highly qualified group of scientists with many years of research experience worked intensely for over a year to collect, analyze and interpret a wide variety of available information on hydraulic fracturing and acid stimulation in the state. ”
Following Volume I released in January 2015, Volumes II and III concluded:
- No evidence was found that chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing have harmed the environment;
- No evidence was found that hydraulic fracturing in California has contaminated groundwater;
- Fluids injected into oil formations during hydraulic fracturing operations are not likely to cause earthquakes;
- Air pollution associated with hydraulic fracturing is small compared to other sources of pollution;
- If hydraulic fracturing expands in California it will most likely be in the existing oil fields of Kern County where the technology has been used for many decades;
- The amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing operations is small compared to other human water uses;
- Hydraulic fracturing has been used in a small number of cases in offshore production but is not expected to become a significant part of offshore production in the future.
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