EA News Comment: While on the surface this discovery seems like good news in terms of US energy supply, it represents a huge environmental and health risk if developed.
- This type of shale formation requires extensive fracking to extract the subsurface petroleum.
- The practice of fracking, other than being expensive for the petroleum developers, is a risky and destructive practice.
- Hazardous fracking fluids returned to the surface are a threat to the health of the local ecosystem and to humans.
- Fracking causese structural damage to subsurface rock formations, resulting in increased earthquake activity.
- If a significant fraction of the projected 20 billion barrels of oil are produced and used as fuel, the release of associated greenhouse gasses will further exacerbate the climate change disaster we are currently experiencing.