Fracking News from California and I Find Out About Flaring

20 top climate scientists have called on California Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking in California.  Article here. Actual letter here. It’s an impressive group of scientists, and the environmental argument is pretty simple:

“If what we’re trying to do is stop using the sky as a waste dump for our carbon pollution, and if we’re trying to transform our energy system, the way to do that is not by expanding our fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University.

Some local entities in New Mexico and New York have already banned fracking, although the oil and gas industry is busily challenging these bans.


When you think about fracking, you have to recognize that it doesn’t all happen underground. Here‘s an article in National Geographic that describes the process of “flaring,” the deliberate open air burning of natural gas. While flaring is superior in terms of carbon emissions to the open burning of methane, it releases carbon into the atmosphere. From the article, here’s what you can expect to see around the hydraulic fracturing wells in Montana:

A natural gas flare illuminates discarded vehicles and farm tools.

Even more disturbing, here’s a space photo of flaring in the Bakken:

A satellite view of gas flaring in North Dakota.

Gas flares, not city lights, shine through the night sky in this satellite view of western North Dakota.

Image courtesy NASA Earth Observatory

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
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