(Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, state regulators released draft rules for hydraulic fracturing, a controversial drilling technique known as fracking. Energy companies hope the new rules will give them the green light to tap into previously inaccessible oil reserves. But environmental groups say fracking contaminates groundwater, pollutes the air and even induces earthquakes. We’ll discuss the benefits and risks of fracking, as well as the proposed regulations.

Guests:
Lauren Sommer, science and environment reporter for KQED Public Radio
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association
Bill Allayaud, California director of government affairs with the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental advocacy group
Kathleen McGinty, senior vice president and managing director of Strategic Growth for Weston Solutions, Inc. and former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

  • Frank

    A few psychopathic scoundrels hope to make a short-term profit through fracking while destroying California’s environment for the next 10,000 years. Fracking illustrates everything that is wrong with how American capitalism works, which rapes the environment and treats all life as disposable. These energy companies are to the environment what Charles Manson was to Sharon Tate, and they know it. In fact, they’re proud of it.

  • Gyre54

    Many in Oklahoma and Arkansas believe that fracking is causing the large increase in seismic activity they’ve experienced in the last few years. One would hope that California would behave in a very careful, and independent way, being aware of this, instead of taking it’s lead from the oil and gas industry. After all, we do happen to exist in the largest quake zone in the country.

  • Wes

    I think that the regulatory questions surrounding fracking are not the questions we should be asking. It is more important to consider why it is necessary to take all of that carbon out of the ground in the first place. Since burning so much carbon is known to be detrimental to all, then just leave it in the ground.

  • John

    Ms. Reheis-Boyd makes the claim that hydraulic fracturing benefits the consumer. That may be true, but it misses the point that the risks and hazards associated with fracking are localized to the communities where the drilling occurs. Isn’t this just another case of privatizing the profits while socializing the risk? This consumer/voter thinks governmental oversight should trump claims of trade secrets and corporate profits.

  • Regarding earthquakes – there are substantial amounts of evidence showing that fracking contributes to seismic instability in the UK, Oklahoma, Texas, Sweden, Denmark… let’s not volunteer to be the world’s biggest earthquake laboratory, for the benefit of the oil companies. What’s the rush (to judgment)?

  • James

    in an era where WATER, not oil, will be the defining issue, fracking is a very bad idea. 1. Petroleum is still a finite resource so let’s just go to alternatives NOW. 2. Once ground water is contaminated, it is gone, period, and good water is also a finite resource. 3. Millions and millions of gallons of water are required by these wells and there is no safe way to deal with the contaminated water that results. 4. It is a very bad idea to frack in major earthquake country, nuff said.

    United States of Haliburton… They will never be held accountable until they are required to disclose their chemicals because then there is no way to prove that they have destroyed our wells.

  • Irvin Dawid

    Is it true that CA has the largest ‘shale oil’ reserves in the U.S.?

    The International Energy Agency just reported on Tuesday that ”

    Coal to Approach Oil as Top Energy Source by 2017″
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-18/coal-demand-forecast-to-rise-2-6-a-year-through-2017-iea-says.html

    Everywhere in the world – even including Europe, nations are consuming more coal – with the major exception of the U.S. where “cheap natural gas” has been replacing coal as as a power plant fuel.

    Now I know the discussion this morning is on fracking for oil, not gas, nevertheless doesn’t the increased gas production – largely a result of fracking – show the benefits of fracking?

    The Energy Information Agency reports that U.S. carbon emissions from energy are at the lowest since 1992 – due to natural gas replacing coal.
    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/17/a-20-year-low-in-u-s-carbon-emissions/

    All energy production is relative. In a perfect world, all our energy needs would come from renewable sources – but we’re not there yet. Fracking opponents need to consider where the petroleum they use comes from before they are so quick to condemn fracking…..Are there environmental issues associated oil production elsewhere?
    “Living on Earth” just reported on the environmental nightmare in Nigeria.
    http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=12-P13-00050&segmentID=4

    • JOHNJASON CHUN

      LET THE TREE LOVERS PAY $1 PER GALLON MORE AND 25% MORE FOR ELECTRICITY & SUPPORTERS PAY 25% LESS!

  • FayNissenbaum

    Harry Shearer, two days ago, on his radio show, reported that the American Geophysical Union (which held its meeting last month in Moscone Center in SF) heard a presentation from USGS scientists who concluded that earthquakes were in fact caused by fracking fluids.
    Harry presented LOTS of data and support – more so than was heard on today’s show. Hear it with this link. His reporting begins one minute in:
    http://harryshearer.com/le-shows/december-16th-2012/

  • Patrik D’haeseleer

    Did I hear the fracking spokescritter claim that keeping the fracking chemicals trade secrets is not for the benefit of industry, but the *consumers*, because it promotes competition?

    And nobody called her on this obviously, ludicrously false statement?

    Trade secrets are all about protecting a competitive advantage. That is, if you were to release the trade secret, you would be leveling the playing field and you’ll get *more* competition. Trade secrets may encourage some innovation, but only to a limited degree (you won’t have to do any more innovation as long as you can keep your secret), and they are inherently ANTI-competitive. This is exactly why patents were invented!

    • JOHNJASON CHUN

      CORRECT! PATENTS ARE NECESSARY, ASK APPLE, MICROSOFT, GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, ETC. ETC..

  • Persinho

    A waste of a show. This is a non-issue. The neo-luddites who oppose fracking deserve to be ignored. Because of fracking, the US has the opportunity to become the largest producer of oil and gas in the world. We also have the opportunity to realize the decades old dream of becoming completely energy self sufficient. These are not exaggerations. The economic, and geopolitical, benefits to this country would be enormous. The environmental risks are well understood and well managed. The alarmist propaganda of fracking opponents is just so much hysterical knee jerk fanaticism.

    • JOHNJASON CHUN

      California has more OIL than Alaska & Texas!!! We need the Tax Revenues to FEED THE LARGE PENSIONS OF THE GOVT. UNIONS & EMPLOYEES!!!

      • Up N’ Atom

        learn about mineral leasing arrangements. California doesn’t get even close to what Alaska gets from the feds.

  • JOHNJASON CHUN

    California can pay it’s debts with the Oil Industry! But the Democrats are Rock Dumb!

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