What is the One Thing That Could Definitely Stop Shale Drilling Boom?
Environmentalists won’t stop the shale gas craze. Neither will federal regulators. But a lack of water could possibly do so. And that is why drillers are looking for new ways to find water supplies — or fresh water supplies would be jeopardized as a result of fossil fuel development.
During the exploration of shale gas, a concoction of sand, water and chemicals is pumped into the ground. Some of the dirty water returns and it must either be treated or re-injected underground, which at least in the northeastern United States involves trucking such tainted water to different locales — something that then upsets the green movement. Treating — or recycling — the “fracking water,” by contrast, optimizes a scarce resource while potentially mitigating any ecological ramifications, albeit at potentially higher costs.
“No question: Recycling is the way that the industry is moving,” says Bill Charneski, chief operating officer of OriginOil, in a telephone interview. “It makes economic and environmental sense to do so."