If You Think Signing a Sierra Club Petition Will Stop Fracking, Think Again

by Gene Franks

As a water treatment professional, I just got a brochure inviting me to attend the 3rd “Water Management for Shale Plays” conference and training in Pittsburgh in late October 2012. The conference, which costs $1295 to attend, will “assess water management” in specific shale plays like Marcellus, Utica, Bakken, Niobrara, and Texas.

The brochure tells me also that such corporate giants as BASF, GE, Halliburton, and Veolia Water have been represented at the 2 previous events; and an ad in the brochure offers the services of an energy law firm that specializes in Environmental Litigation and Oil and Gas Title work, employing “120 lawyers” knowledgeable in “10 major shale plays.

The consulting firm almost salivates as it explains the purpose of the training:

Water–in massive quantities–is essential to the hydraulic fracturing process as it releases gas and oil from shale. A typical deep drilled shale well can take up to 4 or 5 million gallons. but as the proliferation of drilling continues, effective water management for shale plasys has become a matter of increasing urgency–since water supplies are progressively more scarce in some locations and drilling sites are more remote from any quality water source, pipeline, or remediation structure.

In fact, managing water in the context of fracking has become a large, expensive, secondary industry wherever significant amounts of hydraulic fracturing are occurring–because the cost of re-treating, re-using, transporting and disposing of water are so enormous and such an essential part of fracking.

In other words, there are tons of money being made from hydraulic fracturing and more tons to be made from providing and processing the water used in fracking and getting rid of the wastewater that results from fracking.

So, by all means,  sign the petitions and write your congress person.  You’ll get nice letters from computers congratulating you for taking a stand and asking for money to circulate more petitions to stop fracking.  You’ll get a nice letter from your congressman’s computer telling you that he shares your concern and lies awake nights worrying.

But you must realize that when the oil companies, the water treatment companies, the well service companies, the pipe makers, the truckers, and the politicians whom they support pick up the scent of the piles of cash on the table,  letters and petitions aren’t going to matter.

Your well water catches fire? Which of our company’s 120 lawyers would you like to talk with?