Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Resources A California Perspective by Frederick T. Stanin, Fall 2012, Groundwater Association of California HydroVisions Vol 21, No. 3
The keynote speaker, California Assemblyman Robert Wieckowski, is the author of AB 591, a bill aimed to require disclosure of chemicals used by oil and gas producers engaged in hydraulic fracturing. Why a symposium on hydraulic fracturing? Stated simply, hydraulic fracturing as applied in the current revolution of natural gas exploration was the environmental story of 2011. … One of the biggest challenges is fashioning language that promotes disclosure but also protects trade secrets. … Mr. Melrose also indicated that vertical wells may prove to be economically viable, relieving the need for more expensive and water-intensive horizontal wells for hydrofracturing operations.
Earl Hagström added the perspective of a defense attorney. He presented hydrofracturing issues as being about risk and reward, but that there is the possibility of transferring the risk to other parties by means of contract or insurance. He predicted that there will be a lot of litigation over insurance claims.
The most memorable moment was when Dr. John Cherry, the renowned hydrogeologist from the University of Guelph, characterized the activities in the U.S. as a grand experiment with no proper scientific research on the effects of hydrofracturing on the environment. He challenged the funding mechanisms for such research in the U.S. because of the ties between universities and industry (or other parties), and indicated that the U.S. would be better off with a funding system similar to that in Canada, where the funding is not similarly tied and thus scientific research can proceed relatively unencumbered. [Emphasis added]
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