Think fracking earthquakes are hokum? Nature identifies ground water drilling cause of Spain rumbler

Nothing starts an argument in Upstate these days quite like hydraulic fracture mining, or fracking as it is commonly known. From concerns over drinking water and the environment to concerns over our declining economy and what a fracking industry might bring to the region, there are no shortages of angles from which to state your position, either. Personally, while I’ve tried to keep up with the situation, the fact is that there remain too many open questions for me to come down on one side of the issue or the other. Though honestly: when the industry itself is creating a lot of the question marks by hiding answers behind the dubious firewall of “proprietary processes,” its hard not to side against them.

But on one particular facet of the debate, we have received some incontrovertible proof in the form of nine dead Spaniards. They are the victims of a ground water drilling operation that either triggered or hastened a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in Lorca, Spain. Nature is quick to point out that we don’t know if the quake came as a result of ground pressures that were already extreme – whether man managed to create a quake, or help one out – but all agree that the quake was much stronger than they might have predicted.

But the basics are these: you can’t take stuff out of the ground and not expect the ground to stay in exactly the same position. It will settle. In fact, even Fox News has recently reported a six-fold increase in seismic events across the Midwest, where oil and methane (read: fracking) production has increased over the past decade.

Economy Politics

Come on, @DandC: Get a Fracking Clue

I flagged this Marist poll earlier this morning. Now it appears that the Rochester @dandc has opted to guilelessly report on the same poll, showing that New Yorkers are “split” on the issue of hydrofracking:

State is split over use of fracking, poll finds | Democrat and Chronicle |

The trouble is: how many people actually know what hydrofracking is and how many does this issue actually affect? My guess is that many of the respondents live somewhere that fracking will almost certainly never occur. How can we expect them to have an informed opinion on an issue that doesn’t affect them? Their opinions matter as a matter of politics, perhaps. But as a matter of substance? Not so much.

Both the original Marist poll and the above-linked article concede that in Upstate, where the fracking plans are most prevalent, fracking appears to be much less popular. Yet they both choose to lead with the less-illuminating title. Why?