While we in the United States are fighting hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) and its evil associate frac sand mining, our Vice President, Joe Biden, is in Eastern Europe (specifically Ukraine), touting the gospel of hydraulic fracturing as a way for Ukraine to shore up its economy and reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas! So global Real Politik interferes with concern for global warming in the Obama administration once again!
Global Real Politik also apparently caused the administration to hesitate on rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline that would have little or no benefit to the United States (except to the Koch brothers)while forcing the U.S. to bear ALL of the environmental risks of transporting the Canadian tar sands gunk from the Canadian border to the Gulf Coast refineries in a pipeline that would almost surely fail at some point during its transit of the largest freshwater aquifer in the world – the Oglalla of the Great Plains states. Mining the tar sands requires the deforestation of thousands of acres of western Canada, followed by the removal of anywhere from a hundred to a hundred thirty feet of peat, clay and sand (generically called “overburden”) so that giant earth-movers can get at the bitumen mixed with sand that is to be extracted (that is – the tar sand). In other words, tar sands “oil” is environmentally terrible because it destroys organisms that “eat” carbon dioxide (trees) and spews more carbon dioxide into the air while extracting the junk petroleum and transporting it.
THEN, we have the fracking industry, which generates methane gas (a much worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) and which leaks this gas into the air at all points of its production process: from natural gas hydraulic fracturing wells, from natural gas pipelines, or from a variety of other sources, not to mention the flaring of natural gas from the OIL wells in the oil fields that are being hydraulic fractured because the oil drillers have not had the time and do not want to waste their profits on building gas pipelines to the fields to capture the gas that bubbles out of the oil wells!
And THEN we have the Vice President of the United States, bouncing around Ukraine, talking up American hydraulic fracturing technology as if he were the top salesperson for the fracking industry. Well, maybe he is planning for a new job in a couple of years?
For more information about Mr. Biden and the geopolitics of fracking and eastern Europe, we recommend: http://www.fractracker.org/2014/04/geopolitics-and-hydrocarbons/ .
For more information on the Canadian tar sands, please see: