Irrational and completely unfounded opposition to hydraulic fracturing reached a new and disturbing low yesterday when members of the Los Angeles City Council attempted to link an earthquake in the Los Angeles area to hydraulic fracturing.
It does not surprise us that the handful of extremist environmental organizations that are attempting to shut down all oil and gas production in Southern California and beyond would attempt to make an entirely unfounded connection between hydraulic fracturing and the earthquake. These groups have a history of making false and inflammatory statements about oil and natural gas production.
But when three members of the Los Angeles City Council make similar statements, despite an overwhelming amount of scientific and other evidence that contradicts their assertions, it is time for responsible leaders to say, “Enough.” At a minimum, the City Council should be required to demonstrate the scientific basis for recommending policies that will have profound impacts on the region’s economy.
Hydraulic fracturing had nothing to do with yesterday’s earthquake. A leading state seismologist was even quoted as saying the theory was “implausible.” There is no hydraulic fracturing currently taking place in the Los Angeles basin and even if there were, the National Academies of Science and other geologists have already concluded the amount of energy involved in the process of hydraulic energy fracturing is far too small to trigger a felt earthquake.
Moreover, despite the shrill and anti-science tone of much of the extreme opposition to hydraulic fracturing, this is a technology that has been used for more than six decades in California without any demonstrated harm to the environment, water supplies or anything else. It certainly has never been suspected of or linked to earthquakes in California.
Oil and natural gas production is an integral, safe and essential part of the history, culture and lifestyle of Southern California. It is an important part of the region’s economy and thousands of Californians benefit from the royalty payments generated by oil production. Indeed, it provides the mobility, convenience and comfort that exemplifies the world famous Southern California lifestyle.
To attempt to link an industry and a technology to the inexorable forces of tectonics is not only shocking, it is appallingly irresponsible.