Jared Smith at Stuff reports:
Opponents of the oil drilling practice of fracking are unmoved by a report showing the controversial process does not cause earthquakes.
The GNS Science study – commissioned by Taranaki Regional Council – was released yesterday in response to growing public and media scrutiny of fracking.
“There is no evidence that hydraulic fracturing activities in Taranaki between 2000 and mid-2011 have triggered, or have had any observable effect on, natural earthquake activity,” the conclusion states.
Neither would there be any earthquake caused by long-term deep injection activities.
The earthquake study follows TRC’s report last year stating fracking posed no meaningful risk of contaminating Taranaki fresh water.
However, Gareth Hughes, Green Party spokesman on energy and fracking, said the process should be halted “in the interests of caution”, including an investigation by the parliamentary commissioner for the environment.
Once the Greens decide something is bad, no amount of science can convince them otherwise.
TRC’s director of environment quality Gary Bedford said fracking is a slow process and being 4km underground the rock creates a “back pressure”.
“You can’t get a runaway fracking activity,” he said.
Fracking causes a “shift trigger” in the earth of a few millimetres, whereas an earthquake along a fault line would travel hundreds and thousands of miles, Mr Bedford said.
“There’s no sensible comparison between the two.
But plenty of unsensible comparisons.
GNS studied 3300 earthquakes in Taranaki from 2000-2011, focusing on areas within 10km of any fracking location and occurring within three months of fracking activity. Only one quake – at Kaimiro near Inglewood – happened right on the 10km boundary and it happened three months later.
Mr Bedford said Kaimiro was an active fault line and earthquakes had happened before fracking took place there.
Who needs GNS with their scientific witchcraft? How dare they actually do a scientific study? The Greens have spoken and said fracking is bad. It must be stopped immediately, because they know best.