Steam Versus Fracturing

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
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I feel compelled to correct an error in last week’s Angry Poodle Barbecue that could confuse voters trying to understand our county’s Healthy Air and Water Initiative to Ban Fracking. “Another Day, Another Dog” states that “fracking involves the injection of hot steam (500 degrees) coupled with an alphabet soup of nasty chemicals … ” Actually, hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” involves the high pressure injection of water, sand, and toxic chemicals into the bore hole, not steam and nasty chemicals. Cyclic steam injection involves the injection of hot steam, without chemicals.

The column also states that fracking will not ever be used in Santa Barbara County; in fact, fracking has been used repeatedly on the offshore platforms in federal waters in the S.B. Channel. One might assume the geology on this side of the high tide line is not so different from a few miles offshore, and fracking could very well be used onshore in the county in the future, if it is not banned.

Protecting the quantity and quality of our water resources is one of the many good reasons I support the initiative. I urge voters to investigate this critical proposal and the effects that enhanced oil extraction will have on the quality of our environment.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Again, more misleading statement and missing information.
The author is clearly working overtime to confuse and scare low-information voters.

1. The water used for fracking and cyclic steam injection *does not come from water sources used for drinking water or agriculture*! There is no "competition" or "draining of resources" that the public uses.

2. The water uses in these efforts is unusable water by humans or ag. It comes from water deeply embedded below the surface of the earth and far below the water tables that water wells tap into.

3. There is not a SINGLE example of fracking or cyclic steam injection causing a SINGLE contamination of water wells, streams or reseviors..

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2014 at 2:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As I said in the last thread, realitycheck88:

Cyclic steam injection competes directly with drinking/ag water. Oil companies get their water from groundwater sources, aquifers, reclamation plants, etc.

In Santa Maria Energy's case, they're using 300,000 gallons of reclaimed water per day from the Laguna County Sanitary District. That's water that normally irrigates pastureland, then after being filtered by the earth it seeps into and recharges the aquifers below. Check the EIR for details yourself:

More evidence contradicting your claims:

"In the time since steamflooding was pioneered here in the fields of Kern County in the 1960s, oil companies statewide have pumped roughly 2.8 trillion gallons of fresh water—nearly 9 million acre-feet—underground in pursuit of the region’s tarry oil."

Claims that oil companies use some "other" source of water is a complete fiction.

Also, there are numerous examples of fracking and steam injection contaminating water. See the link above for the Kern County example, and google "cold lake cyclic steam injection spill" for more information in that direction. Thanks.

nitrogen (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2014 at 3:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nitrogen, reality88 will never get the truth and reality of this issue. We need this initiative and to ban fracking here.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2014 at 4:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)


nitrogen, please, please pay very, very close attention:

1. SME is using non-potable *non-reclaimable* (for human or ag sources) water.

2. The report from High Country News that you link to about fresh water is also amateur journalist written 100% grade AAA B.S.

99% of the "fresh water" they write about is NOT fresh water - it is water that is unusable for humans or ag - or filtered by the oil companies to remove particulates or treated by them to improve the quality.

How hard is this for you and DavyBrown to understand? Apparently it's very, very, very, very hard. And the reason is simple: you *hate oil and/or capitalism* and facts are small details that get in your way.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2014 at 4:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Realitycheck needs a serious reality check. Yes, frackers across the nation are now scrambling to find non potable sources of water for their operations. That is only now beginning to happen after years of sucking from rivers, lakes and wells in competition with domestic water suppliers and farmers. Drillers in Pennsylvania are still using almost 70% potable water for fracking there.
You are all wet ,Reality, and I hope it's with frack liquids.

geeber (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2014 at 5:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That Angry Poodle was confusing. There is a huge increase in steam injection hitting the county and, which has all the same risks as fracking -- heavy water use, risk of water contamination, risk of earthquakes from wastewater reinjection, etc. and is also covered by the initiative.

jdiggs (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2014 at 5:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

agree geeber!! realityWilly88's obstinacy & his "reason is simple: he *hates the earth and/or social democracy* and facts are small details that get in his way." He is effectively blind up there in his narrow little canyon.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2014 at 6 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The pipe dream of recycled water meeting all of the proposed 7000 new wells needs is a hallucination. Can't be done, despite the fantastic public relations blow job that Santa Maria Energy and the Andy Caldwell Crowd are performing on the public.

geeber (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2014 at 4:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And fracking is not just for US consumption:

"But as drilling companies tap shale formations across the U.S., so much oil is flooding out of the ground that prices for ultralight oil have fallen as much as $10 or more below the price of traditional crude. As a result, producers have lobbied aggressively to relax the export ban, saying they could get a higher price from foreign buyers than from U.S. refiners."

"The younger generation doesn’t like cars, cable TV or soft drinks"

I guess the more a country exports, the more it helps financially, but oil is such a polluting commodity, will it be cost effective in the long run? (Clean-up costs from extreme weather events).

Millennials are doing their part by shunning cars (is this only in the US?), just as oil companies are using fracking to produce more oil than the country needs. Car emissions contribute to global warming, globally. Instead of fracking, oil companies should invest in clean energy, and keep our water clean and unwasted.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2014 at 8:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Great points, tabatha.

One great thing about this initiative is that if it passes, it will encourage more clean energy growth like wind and solar.

nitrogen (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2014 at 9:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It will encourage even more businesses to leave California.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2014 at 10:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The only reason CA is functioning now, is thanks to groundwater. When that runs out, CA runs out. And businesses will leave anyway. All of our future hopes are hanging on a super El Nino this year. But, it may be too much water, even for the drought-thirsty.

In China it has been raining for 41 days and 41 nights - 9,000 homes lost, 16,000 damaged.

"Global warming to disrupt US economy by mid-century, report finds (+video)
Costs of economic disruption from global warming are likely to total hundreds of billions of dollars by 2050, a new risk assessment finds. The bipartisan report tallies losses to four sectors of the US economy."

There is going to be far more disruption to business from the products of fracking than the banning of fracking.

This blogger always sources his comments.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2014 at 10:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah we know. If there's not enough rain, it's due to climate change. If there's too much rain, it's also due to climate change. Climate change does exist, but to attribute every little hiccough in the weather to it is quite presumptuous. Climate change is an inexact science and is constantly evolving, much less "settled".

There is no solution without an international effort. If everyone in CA changes to electric cars, it would still amount to nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Botany (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2014 at 10:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How in fact will people be living in SB County in 2050, according to these projections? Will their lives be much different than those lived in the 1950's, or even the 1850's, before the rapid expansion of daily energy use?

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2014 at 10:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

In total, there are less than 400 oil jobs in the county. The Bacara Hotel employs around 500. Just some perspective.

Also, great study from Geophysical Research Letters linking climate change to CA drought, summarized in this article:

nitrogen (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2014 at 3:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

so, we are on the titanic so we might as well save.... jobs? even though it is not settled that we are on the titanic. Sounds like a movie (fiction). Time bandits maybe? Yes! Time Bandits, non-fiction. They cash in our time on the earth for $ and jobs. Dirty energy = dirty demise. The climate science is settled, it is heating up.

spacey (anonymous profile)
June 26, 2014 at 11:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Where is the comment that if someone ever drives or rides in an automobile, they then have no rights or credibility to be concerned with global warming, groundwater contamination, water consumption, and oil spills?

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
June 26, 2014 at 4 p.m. (Suggest removal)

John Adams: By all means drive your oil-fueled car while you preach cars are destroying the earth. Be concerned with global warming as you use your share of everything. No hypocracy there whatsoever eh Bro Adams?

nuffalready (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 1:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How do you know JohnAdams drives an oil-fueled car? It's the same as my assuming you drive a horse and buggy.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 2:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken: All the eco-religionists drive cars, on asphalt roads, turn on the lights, the heat, take warm showers, and otherwise use their share of everything the rest of us use. . .but they do recycle their plastic bags and make a show of it.

nuffalready (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 12:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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