Sunday, February 15

AP uncritically echoes government scientist's claim that drilling causes earthquakes

Yesterday the Associated Press--an outfit firmly in the "progressive"/liberal/Democrat camp--published an article--by someone billed as a "Science Writer"--under the headline:
"Study: Oklahoma's daily small quakes raise risk of big ones"
The article quoted a "federal study" by geophysicist William Ellsworth of the U.S. Geological Survey.  Here's a quote from a USGS article on his "study:"
USGS scientists are dedicated to gaining a better understanding of the geological conditions and industrial practices associated with induced earthquakes, and to determining how seismic risk can be managed.
That, folks, is pure propaganda:  The phrase incorporates the pre-ordained conclusion that "industrial practices" cause earthquakes.

Of course they don't say "causes" earthquakes because that would be a red flag to non-progressive, non-government scientists.  The phrase "associated with" is non-controversial.  But of course laymen see the same phrase as "causes."  Which of course is the intent. 

Of course you don't believe this, but you can read the AP article at the link and see the writer happily characterize a presentation by Ellsworth as a "session on human-induced earthquakes."  This was and is the intent.

The purpose of this propaganda blitz is to generate public support for the federal government being able to ban both hydraulic fracturing and wastewater disposal.  This would kill about two-thirds of new exploration activity.  Here's the AP summary:
One risk-management approach highlighted in Ellsworth’s article involves the setting of seismic activity thresholds for safe operation. Under this “traffic-light” system, if seismic activity exceeds preset thresholds, reductions in injection would be made. If seismicity continues or escalates, operations could be suspended.
Makes sense, right?  I mean, everyone is horrified by the notion that drilling operations can cause earthquakes, so giving the feds the right to ban those things is a slam-dunk, right?

But consider a few facts that Ellsworth--a PhD geophysicist--must know:  Virtually all these micro-quakes occur at a depth of 4 miles or so.  But wastewater disposal wells are typically less than 8,000 feet deep.  It's like claiming two airliners that fly within two miles of each other is a dangerous "near-miss."

If earthquakes happened before drilling, how can Ellsworth be sure the small quakes in *some* oil-producing states are caused by drilling?  He can't, of course. 

Basically Ellsworth is using "post-hoc" reasoning:  Before X years ago there were only Y small quakes per year.  But after the eeebil oil companies started fracking (or disposing of saltwater), that increased a bunch.  Ergo, disposal wells are "associated with" (read: causing) the quakes.

(At the very end of the USGS article by Ellsworth from Jan 17th, 2014 that seems to have been basis the AP story, a caption to a photo notes that "very few wastewater disposal wells produce earthquakes."  You won't be shocked to learn that the AP "science writer" didn't see fit to include this very-bottom-of-article disclaimer in his story.)

If this all has a vaguely familiar ring, you're right:  This is exactly the reasoning that "progressives" and anti-capitalists/anti-Americans used to whip up "anthropogenic catastrophic global warming"--the theory that man-made carbon dioxide was fatally warming the planet.  Of course this theory conveniently ignored the fact that the climate has been much warmer in the past, before the industrial age and the automobile--which means there must be some sort of non-human factor that could account for the warming.

So how can the anti-capitalists be certain that this time the problem is man-made CO2?

They can't, of course.  But only by claiming the cause is man-made CO2 can they force the result they seek.  Which is to kill carbon-based energy.

As the public is slowly beginning to realize what a scam AGW is, the progs are opening a second front.  If they can't kill capitalism one way, ban the very techniques that have temporarily given us cheaper gasoline and oil.

Business as usual, progressive style. 


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