Is there such a thing as "green" fracking?

|
(9)
Screen shot from Hydrozonix website, www.hydrozonix.com.

Michael Klein is an unlikely oil industry executive. He’s also an unlikely environmental activist. For many years, the affluent San Franciscan was a major donor and chair of the board of the Rainforest Action Network, an environmental organization famous for its aggressive agitation targeting timber giants, coal companies, air polluters, and the dirty energy financiers of Wall Street.

But he's stepped down from that role, and has since helped form a company called Hydrozonix, which might be called a “green” fracking enterprise.

Hydrozonix provides water treatment systems for the oil and gas exploration industry, and seeks to eliminate the use of two particularly nasty fracking-fluid chemicals known as biocides and scale inhibitors. It also gives companies a way to treat and recycle wastewater fluid. The company just completed its first year of operations, Klein told us, with 12 systems reportedly up and running in Texas oil fields.

Does this mean a die-hard environmentalist has crossed over to the dark side? “It was never an easy decision,” Klein told us. “I never thought I would tell anybody that I’m in the oil business.”

He hasn’t exactly turned into a climate change denier.

“I believe we have to stop using carbon based fuels as soon as possible,” Klein says without hesitation, “and find the political will to put a price on carbon.” He also supports a temporary moratorium on fracking. But he claims he’s only trying to make fracking “dramatically safer” in the interim, because “until we stop subsidizing [fossil fuels], the alternatives are at a severe disadvantage.”

Since entering the biz, however, Klein's no longer convinced by arguments made by proponents of a permanent ban on fracking in California, which revolve around health and safety concerns. “I’ve come to the conclusion that if best practices are used, it’s … considerably safer than deepwater drilling,” he told the Guardian. “I do believe it can be done without concerns about contaminating aquifers or poisoning everyone.”

For a more on fracking in California, pick up a copy of this week's Green Issue or read it here.

Follow @byRebeccaBowe

Comments

and a number of high-tech early-stage companies are attracting funds.

The consensus generally is that fracking will be approved eventually everywhere since the economic and political imperative is compelling. But the industry wants to be seen as sensitive and caring, and so such 2low impact" fracking technologies are seen as viable and good.

As always, technology will vanquish all fears about energy processing, and I suspect in ten years time we will no more worry about fracking than we once worried about coal mines.

Posted by anon on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 10:11 am

Burning natural gas is much, much cleaner than burning coal. The US has vast reserves of coal that we are burning to generate our power. If the planet is going to survive, we must quickly put a price (a tax) on carbon and make coal uneconomic. Burning natural gas is not great and must be subjected to rising taxes, but it's far better than burning our cheap coal. Mr. Klein's ideas move us in the right direction.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 10:39 am

Coal, oil, gas, nuclear, solar etc.

Do it all, but over-taxing it will not help achieve energy independence.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 10:49 am

Actually 'guest' a recent Cornell study shows that fracked natural gas creates even worse green house gas emissions than coal. See http://inhabitat.com/updated-cornell-study-shows-fracking-causes-more-gl...

And in the case of oil, a fossil fuel which each of us knows full well we must immediately and rapidly be phased out of use, there is no justification whatsoever to drill for more of it using -any- method.

On the subject of 'green' fracking, there cannot be such a thing, because the rock itself that is being cracked to get gas and oil out of it, contains myriad natural toxins and radioactive materials that are also released in the fracking process; including the obvious - the natural gas and petroleum themselves - which, guess what, are toxic...

So it is simply impossible for fracking to be clean or 'green' and California should ban fracking immediately.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

return or recycle them as necessary.

It seems unlikely that the government's leading scientists and experts are all wrong and the fringe left-wing is correct, as with anything else.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

supports a technology that means money in his pocket.

Notice he said, "poisoning everyone", not anyone. I wager that there won't be much fracking in his San Francisco neighborhood.

I'm also happy that anon escaped his English homeland and job as a coal miner. Plenty of people are still concerned about coal mining, polluted waterways, mountaintop removal.

It's more likely in 10 years that we will be fighting each other for food and clean water than living in some sort of green, capitalist fairyland.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 10:43 am

"green fracking" is the latest oxymoron nonsense from spin masters that oil companies employ to create their propaganda -- the same shills who used to work for the tobacco companies. Fracking will pollute our water and soil turning california brown.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 10:48 am

So sad that you chose to rely on misinformation to support your misguided beliefs, coal is not cleaner burning than natural gas no matter how you try to spin it. When I see this type of misinformation it makes me question the motives of the anti fracking movement. A chemical free water treatment system allowing the oil companies to recycle their frac water seems like a good thing. The fact that someone would risk their own money to try to make this happen is admirable.

Every thing we do has an impact of the environment. Your post from a pc or other device whose manufacturing created pollution, the energy to power this device created pollution. It is our job to manage that pollution to minimize it's impact. The idea of green fracs seem to be an effort to do this and should be applauded.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2014 @ 3:17 pm

terror states of the MidEast. I'd rather accept some coal fumes that have to learn to speak Arabic, Chinese, Russian or any other basketcase language.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Also from this author

  • Police provide explanation of Bernal Heights Park shooting at emotional town hall meeting

  • San Francisco's untouchables

    Is San Francisco trying to help the homeless -- or drive them away?

  • Draining the tank

    Students push UC system to divest from fossil fuels, joining an international movement gathering soon in San Francisco