Intent on ignoring facts and spreading hysteria, ideological opponents of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have seized on the state’s drought as an excuse to demand a moratorium. Never mind that fracking doesn’t even use much water.
Now, scientists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are warning that streams harboring endangered salmon and steelhead could go dry for an entirely different reason – because of the heavy water consumption of marijuana growers. During growing season, marijuana consumes 60 million gallons of water a day. That’s 200 times more water than is used in hydraulic fracturing operations and 50% more than consumed by the entire city of San Francisco.
This all raises an interesting question: Where is the alarmist press release from the folks at the Center for Biological Diversity demanding an immediate moratorium on marijuana?
Perhaps they have not issued a press release because, while water consumption by marijuana growers is actually a real problem, it does not fit their anti-energy agenda and it is not useful for fundraising appeals.
As the name implies, hydraulic fracturing is a technology that injects oil wells with a mixture of water, sand and additives to break up rock formations and make energy deposits accessible. In 2013, fracking was used in 830 wells in California, using a total of 323 acre-feet of water or about 288,000 gallons a day. For comparison, irrigating just one typical municipal golf course requires 353,000 gallons of water a day, or 22% more water than is used by all fracking operations in the entire state.
Fracking is a proven technology that has been in use for more than 60 years, is strengthening our country’s energy security in a time of turmoil and is bringing prosperity to states such as North Dakota. In fact, since 2000, fracking has transformed North Dakota from one of America’s poorest states to one of the most prosperous.
In California, we currently have to import 60% of our oil from outside the state and suffer from the nation’s fifth-highest unemployment rate. Advanced oil extraction technology such as fracking offers our state the opportunity to achieve energy independence, create good jobs and revenue for services we care about such as public safety and education.
A recent study by CSU Fresno economists found future energy production with advanced oil extraction technology such as fracking could create up to 195,000 new jobs, increase personal incomes up to $22 billion and generate up to $6.7 billion in new revenue for state and local services.
With such a tremendous opportunity right under our feet, let’s not allow the anti-science ideologues to stand in the way of technology that can improve conditions for all Californians. That would be bogus, man.