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posted by hubie on Wednesday November 23, @04:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-feel-the-earth-move-under-my-feet dept.

The state's Railroad Commission is investigating whether the 5.4-magnitude quake last week was a natural event:

The Railroad Commission Texas, which regulates the state's oil and gas industry, is investigating a 5.4-magnitude earthquake that rocked communities in West Texas last Wednesday, The Texas Tribune reports. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a drilling technique common in the area that is known to cause earthquakes.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred on November 16, just west of Pecos, Texas. This was the state's largest earthquake since 1995 and was felt as far as El Paso. The oil and gas regulatory agency is trying to understand if this was a naturally occurring earthquake or if it was caused by waste water from fracking. Waste water disposal from fracking has dramatically increased the number of earthquakes in Texas. The seismic activity has especially become more common around the Permian Basin in West Texas, where oil and gas production is concentrated, according to the Texas Tribune.

[...] The Texas Tribune previously reported that the number of earthquakes in the state doubled in 2021. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, there were more than 200 earthquakes categorized as 3 magnitude and higher. There were only 95 earthquakes reported in Texas in 2020, according to the Bureau's data.


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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by ElizabethGreene on Wednesday November 23, @06:52PM (7 children)

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Wednesday November 23, @06:52PM (#1281312)

    It seems unfair to count the cost of fracking this way without similarly considering the cost of not being able to meet our energy needs. The cost of California's 2019 rolling blackouts alone was spitballed at $2 Billion dollars, a little under 1% of the State's GDP. If you want to talk about a cost in lives instead of dollars, consider what will happen if Russia continues to press their war in Ukraine through the winter. A lot of people are going to be cold this winter because of their energy dependence.

    The knee-jerk response to that is "But Renewables!" and I agree with you. We're seeing renewables increase several percent per year and that's a good thing. Before you consider the matter closed though, please consider that if it grows at the astounding rate of 3% per year, year-over-year, it will still take decades to replace what we currently get from fossil fuels. You could build a new gas-fired power plant today with a 50-year service life and hit that service life before we are able to fully replace fossil fuels with renewables. So obviously we need to deploy renewables faster. Agreed, but even if we double the growth rate it still takes decades.

    So thank you, greedy oil company bastards, for keeping the lights on. I really do appreciate it. Please keep doing your thing until we catch up. Don't think this makes up for suppressing renewables for decades. You are still up for the guillotine for that.

    [Source Data: In 2021, per https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec1_7.pdf, [eia.gov] renewables including biomass which is bullshit but that's another conversation made up 12.4% of our energy mix. That's up from 10.6% in 2016.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by ilsa on Wednesday November 23, @07:39PM (5 children)

    by ilsa (6082) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 23, @07:39PM (#1281322)

    The fundamental flaws with your argument is that you assume the way things are currently run is the ONLY way things can currently run, so we just have to accept the blatant corruption and wealth transfer to the rich. You also assume that they are, in fact, "keeping the lights on".

    The fact is, these greedy oil company bastards are NOT keeping the lights on. They have demonstrated that several times now. Texas has more than enough resources they need a hundred fold over, yet they have _willingly chose_ to let people freeze to death rather than risk the possibility that they might not make quite as much profit as they feel they are entitled to.

    They socialize the ramifications of what they do, but privatize the profits. It's sad that you willingly swallow the libertarian bullshit they spoonfeed you.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, @08:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, @08:21PM (#1281331)

      The fundamental flaws with your argument is that you assume the way things are currently run is the ONLY way things can currently run, so we just have to accept the blatant corruption and wealth transfer to the rich.

      This was all known by baboons decades ago: https://youtu.be/A4UMyTnlaMY?t=14 [youtu.be]

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Thursday November 24, @06:30AM (1 child)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 24, @06:30AM (#1281408) Journal

      The fundamental flaws with your argument is that you assume the way things are currently run is the ONLY way things can currently run, so we just have to accept the blatant corruption and wealth transfer to the rich. You also assume that they are, in fact, "keeping the lights on".

      I agree with the grandparent. They are indeed keeping the lights on. And the people who rant about "blatant corruption and wealth transfer to the rich" from normal market activity? I wouldn't trust them to run a lemonade stand much less have an informed opinion on the energy industry.

      The fact is, these greedy oil company bastards are NOT keeping the lights on. They have demonstrated that several times now. Texas has more than enough resources they need a hundred fold over, yet they have _willingly chose_ to let people freeze to death rather than risk the possibility that they might not make quite as much profit as they feel they are entitled to.

      In other words, they had a one-time power outage due to a freak ice storm and now it's a narrative about rich people. I suggest for more examples, the lack of new nuclear plants (or means to recycle the ever growing pile of nuclear waste) or new refineries for half a century because the public thought they were bad. Rich people were too greedy to fix that too.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, @06:51AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, @06:51AM (#1281553)

        Yes.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Username on Friday November 25, @05:23PM (1 child)

      by Username (4557) on Friday November 25, @05:23PM (#1281612)

      This is hard to follow for me, but from what I understand your point is:

      You shouldn't be a self sufficient libertarian who generates their own power because the socialized windmills put up to counter climate change stopped spinning because of the greedy bourgeoisie.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday November 28, @02:08AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 28, @02:08AM (#1282067) Journal
        My mental failwaves can stop windmills at 225 km. Fear me.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by sjames on Wednesday November 23, @09:50PM

    by sjames (2882) on Wednesday November 23, @09:50PM (#1281341) Journal

    What seems unfair is the people making all the profits not being the ones to pay the costs. Internalize the costs and then we can talk about the risk/benefit calculations.