Home / Exclusives / 2014’s Booms, Bans, and Busts no. 3: Fracking bans, green fracking

2014’s Booms, Bans, and Busts no. 3: Fracking bans, green fracking

The 2014 year is on its way out, and Shale Plays Media is taking these last two weeks to recap the various major stories that have impacted the world of oil and gas over the last year. On Wednesday, Mexico’s energy reform and exports for the year were highlighted in an original piece you can view here.

From the addition of the term “fracking” to the dictionary to questions about the safety of the process, hydraulic fracturing has made headlines across the world during 2014. However, the process has now been called out and is being reevaluated by many, from legislation banning the process completely to companies stepping forward and creating safer, healthier ways of fracking.

In November, Denton made headlines across the world when voters, 59 percent to be exact, approved the first ever fracking ban in the state of Texas.

The start of the ban goes back to this summer when a home care nurse and other supporters created the campaign against fracking in the city, Frack Free Denton. They argued that fracking would affect the quality of life as well as potentially harm the environment if Denton allowed hydraulic fracturing to occur.

Other side of the issue was the pro-fracking group, which consisted of local gas producers, mineral rights owners, and oil and gas companies. They argued that drilling would provide jobs and allow more funding for schools.

With Denton being located in the middle of the Barnett shale field, the proposal of the ban caused a scare among oil producers and drew attention across the world.

On November 4, the ban was put into referendum. Shortly afterwards, the issue was placed on the ballots, with 59 percent of the votes cast in favor of the ban. Hydraulic fracturing was officially banned.

On Tuesday December 2, the ban took effect, and several other communities in North Texas hopped on the fracking ban bandwagon, including Reno and cities northwest of Fort Worth. Other states also joined the fight against fracking, such as Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico and New York. New York recently extended the moratorium on fracking after the release of the Cuomo report. The report addressed the health risks that fracking would cause in the state. Oil and gas industry proponents began to threaten legal action against those who prohibit fracking.

More recently, the Denton City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission have scheduled a meeting to go over the drilling ordinance. The two are hoping that they will be able to change or add to the regulations. In addition, they hope to resolve the issues of mineral rights owners and oil and gas companies that the ban created.

Although there has been much commotion this year regarding completely banning fracking, oil and gas companies, including GasFrac, Halliburton and Apache, have stepped up and developed new technologies that allow for safer and cleaner fracking. Waterless fracking, advances in recycling and treating wastewater and eliminating diesel fumes are just some of the things industry leaders have done to ensure that fracking is a safe process. Companies across the nation continue to develop new technologies in an attempt to keep producing oil and gas and ensure that it can be done in a safer, healthier, and more environmental-friendly way.

It is important to remember that even though safer and healthier fracking methods are in beginning phases, these examples are proof that oil and gas companies and those in the industry are making efforts to develop new ways to frack. This is also the first step in the industry taking responsibility for environmental and community issues drilling for gas and oil has caused.

Recently EQT Corp. released a corporate social responsibility (CSR) report for the Global Reporting Initiative, a nonprofit organization which promotes sustainability disclosures in businesses. The report includes top oil and gas companies’ air emissions, water and waste management and such topics. It also addresses the issues occurring in each area, implanting green completions technology, for example.

It seems fair to say that fracking has been a hot topic for 2014. With this controversial topic on the minds of industry professionals as well as the average Joe who encounters fracking in his backyard, the topic is likely to see more news coverage in 2015.


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