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Clearly, We Should Trust the Petroleum Industry


What could possibly go wrong with plunging into full-scale fracking and assuming the petroleum industry will do things the right way?

An oil company will pay a $60,000 penalty for discharging fracking fluid into an unlined pit in Kern County.

Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board said in a statement Friday that Vintage Production California discharged saline water and hydraulic fracturing liquid into an unlined pit for 12 days last year. The pit was next to a newly drilled oil well near Shafter, about 20 miles northwest of Bakersfield.

Of course, $60,000 is a pittance in the oil industry, especially for a fracking operation that is successful. What’s amazing of course is that we even heard about this. It was caught and a fine was issued. But the company clearly believed it wouldn’t be caught and in given the lax regulatory structures of the United States in 2013, I’m sure it was a good bet that it just didn’t win.

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  • Warren Terra

    It’s subscriber-only, but Ken Silverstein’s Harper’s article on the oil industry in Louisiana should be required reading.

  • DrDick

    If there is a right way to do something, the petroleum industry will do the exact opposite every single time. All they care about is maximizing the bottom line.

  • GoDeep

    There’s a reasonable middle line b/tn trusting frackers & opposing frackers b/cs of complete opposition to fossil fuels. Increasing taxes to pay for enforcement, making sure they publicly publish fracking liquids, and making sure local water sources & air quality are closely monitored all seem like good regulation to me.

    The absolute opposition to fracking I see from some Greens & Progressives seems unreasonable to me. Movies like Gasland have fueled a rank paranoia abt fracking.

  • Rob in CT

    This has always been my worry: whence the wastewater? Since I handle environmental claims, I see a steady diet of stuff like “oh, well, that stuff seeps?! I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!”

    And here’s the thing: here, it was egregious. Dumping in unlined pits? In 2013? Pul-lease. Obviously in need of a smackdown. But you can dispose of things “properly” and find out that 20 years later, it leaked anyway. This is why we need regs and money set aside to deal with the inevitable oopsies (actual oopsies, as opposed to “dump it in the creek, nobody’s watching…”).

  • JohnMcC

    In a shocking development, we learn that Kern Co. is Bakersfield CA and that their Congressman is Rep Kevin McCarthy, the House Whip.

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