From a Washington Post story on the correlation being drawn between heavy dumping into a fracking waste well in Ohio and the rash of earthquakes, we get this nugget from Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols:

A spokesman for Gov. John Kasich, an outspoken supporter of the growing oil and natural gas industry in Ohio, said the shale industry shouldn’t be punished for a fracking byproduct.

“That would be the equivalent of shutting down the auto industry because a scrap tire dump caught fire somewhere,” said Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols.

First of all, we’re not talking about a tire dump catching fire.  We’re talking about the tectonic plates around Youngstown (you know the surface of the earth), shifting about because the fracking brine water waste being pumped at the rate of thousands of gallons a day has been acting as some sort of seismological Astroglide.

And we’re not talking about shutting down the entire oil or gas industry.  Don’t be so obtuse.  But what some very reasonable people are suggesting is that when an energy source results in a waste disposal methods that increases the likelihood of damaging earthquakes (something Youngstown has not typically had to concern itself with.)  Perhaps we should take a closer look at it.

It’s kind of a subterfuge to try to distinguish this as not being directly connected to fracking because these quakes were caused by fracking waste pumping and not fracking itself.  After all, why do they call it fracking waste if fracking has nothing to do with it?

A more fitting analogy would be the lexus between nuclear energy and nuclear waste.  After all, it was waste from an energy generating material that is suspected of causing these quakes, not something like a common component of a larger piece of equipment.

But I can understand why Nichols would want to avoid that analogy.  Because it doesn’t suit his purpose.  For the most part, the inability of policy makers to resolve the issue of nuclear waste more so than anything else largely stopped the development of nuclear energy in its tracks in this nation to the point that from 1974 until 2010, there were no new nuclear reactors under construction in the United States.

But Nichols can’t dismissively say the quakes were not caused by fracking, but fracking wastes, without tripping over the obvious issue that there would be no need for the earthquake causing waste wells without fracking.

 

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