- Arkansas voter ID law struck down by state judge
- FDA proposes ban on e-cigarette sales to minors
- Bad omen? Italian man crushed to death by John Paul II crucifix
- Company stopped from accepting abortion waste
- Girl surprises Michelle Obama with unemployed dad’s resume
- ‘Harry Potter’ religion class seeks to enlighten students on ‘God, sin, and theodicy’
- ‘Optionally piloted’ Black Hawk helicopter clears tests; future missions to go ‘fully unmanned’
- Vice News reporter kidnapped in Ukraine is freed after being beaten, blindfolded
- FCC’s new ‘net neutrality’ proposal sparks outrage among consumer advocates
- Families of ferry’s lost confront South Korean officials
Biden blames fracking for earthquakes
Analysts say VP is shaky on his facts
The vice president shook up the scientific world Tuesday.
At a campaign stop in Virginia touting the administration’s energy policy, Vice President Joseph R. Biden blamed earthquakes on the extraction of natural gas by fracking.
Industry analysts immediately panned Mr. Biden’s remarks — which are backed by no evidence — about the hydraulic fracturing method that uses water, sand and chemicals to crack underground rock and release vast amounts of fuel.
“We know we can get [natural gas and oil], but we have to do it environmentally soundly. There’s a thing called fracking. They’ve got to go crack the rock in order to get it out. You can environmentally do that well or you can environmentally do that poorly,” the vice president said.
“If you do it poorly, you use up the water aquifer. You can create, in some cases the argument is, earthquakes,” he concluded.
Mr. Biden was referring to a string of minor tremors over the past year in the Youngstown, Ohio, area, including a 4.0 quake that shook the city on New Year’s Eve.
But state officials have confirmed that the temblors were the result of a wastewater-disposal well, not fracking itself. Some drilling firms dispose of the millions of gallons of water needed to frack a well by simply pumping it back into the earth. Others opt for the more expensive method of treating the water and reusing it.
Many environmental groups, and now the vice president, have incorrectly tied the seismic events directly to fracking.
“The worst-kept secret in Washington is Vice President Biden’s penchant for exaggeration … now he’s pretending to be a seismologist,” said Benjamin Cole, communications director at the Institute for Energy Research, a nonprofit energy think tank.
“If [Mr. Biden] paid attention to government geologists rather than winging it on the campaign trail, he’d know that concerns about disposal-injection wells have been tied to minor earthquakes. But this administration has a pattern of distorting the facts about energy production in America,” he said.
Ohio officials shut down the wastewater-disposal well near Youngstown after learning it had been built on a previously unknown fault line. Disturbance of that fault line triggered a rash of at least a dozen earthquakes, which began just three months after the well came on line.
The state’s Department of Natural Resources has now implemented new protocols requiring companies to perform thorough geologic testing before drilling waste wells in order to prevent future quakes.
Despite his reservations about fracking, Mr. Biden said the administration supports domestic oil and gas drilling, but only if the proper safeguards are in place.
He cited forthcoming regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency designed to limit air pollution and potential water contamination from fracking sites — regulations that Industry leaders fear will greatly reduce the nation’s fossil fuel production.
“We are spending a lot of time and money figuring out how to [drill for oil and gas] in an environmentally sound way,” Mr. Biden said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In Japan, Obama plays soccer with a robot and warns students of climate change
- Running on empty: EPA slashes biofuel goals because of ethanol shortage
- Ukraine claims torture by pro-Russian forces on the heels of Biden's stern warning to Moscow
- Joe Biden to Ukrainian lawmakers: Tackle 'cancer of corruption'
- Court rules Obama administration must justify targeted killings
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
Only IRS employees could expect rewards for failing to pay their taxes
- Holder cancels appearance in OKC amid angry protests
- In its hunt for Senate, Republican candidates campaign against Harry Reid
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Obamacare class-action suit opens a new legal front
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Nevada rancher's racial remarks cost him range of support
- Sold out: Ukraine's leadership swapped best military weapons for cash
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014