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SHALE GAS, FRACKING AND ASSESSING THE CREDIBILITY OF SOURCES Ellen Metzger April 27, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "SHALE GAS, FRACKING AND ASSESSING THE CREDIBILITY OF SOURCES Ellen Metzger April 27, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 SHALE GAS, FRACKING AND ASSESSING THE CREDIBILITY OF SOURCES Ellen Metzger April 27, 2013

2 Focus Questions What is hydofracking (fracking)? What are some of the positive things you have heard about fracking? What are some of the negative things you have heard? Where have you gotten your information about hydrofracking?

3 The Shale Revolution Extraction of gas and oil from previously inaccessible sources Unconventional fossil fuels (side bar: porosity and permeability) The low-hanging fruit is gone Two technologies have made it possible to extract fossil fuels from impermeable shale Horizontal drilling Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) Source: Hughes, J. David. "Energy: A reality check on the shale revolution." Nature (2013):

4 Conventional vs. Unconventional Fossil Fuel

5 The following slides are slightly modified from a presentation by Paul Johnson of the University of Washington

6 The 'shale revolution' the extraction of gas and oil from previously inaccessible reservoirs has been declared an energy game changer. Shale gas is offsetting declines in conventional oil and gas production, and touted as a transition fuel to a low-carbon future, and shale oil as being capable of reinstating the United States as the largest oil producer in the world, eliminating the need for foreign imports.

7 Claims for the Shale Gas Revolution An energy game changer Offsetting declines in conventional (easy to get) oil and gas production Lower CO2 emissions than coal A clean transition fuel to a low-carbon future But what about methane (CH4)? Reinstating US as the largest oil and gas producer in the world – eliminating need for foreign imports Source: Hughes, J. David. "Energy: A reality check on the shale revolution." Nature Nature 494, 307–308 (21 February 2013)

8 Shale gas has a high environmental price. Requires enormous water resources (million barrels of water to initially fracture the well site), and when recovered, these million barrels of water are heavily contaminated with toxic organic compounds. BP Oil estimates that shale gas will triple (X 3) and shale oil will increase sixfold (X 6) 2011 levels by It is a recent phenomena: in 2004, only 10% of U.S. well were drilled horizontal. In 2012, 61% of the wells were. Source of diagrams on this and the next page: Howarth, et al. "Natural gas: Should fracking stop?." Nature (2011):

9 It is a global phenomena – with other countries adapting is as quickly as possible.

10 The Big Five Plays – Louisiana, E. Texas, WVA/Penn, NY. The problem: they are expensive to drill, they produce major environmental problems, and they are short-lived. Average lifetime of well (to 90% drop in production) is 3 years. Annual number of wells drilled in 2011 – 7,200 Average cost of drilling these wells - $42 billion dollars. Drilling an average deep shale well is now about $9 million per well. Source of diagram: Hughes, J. David. "Energy: A reality check on the shale revolution." Nature (2013):

11 Making Connections Illustrates complex system interactions Wicked problems Multiple perspectives No simple or unique answers Sustainability - The 3Es Common Core and NGSS (handouts) Fracking in California? The Monterey Shale

12 Shale plays in North America

13 Media Constructions of Sustainability in the Finger Lakes PowerPoint Presentation: Lesson 24 Hydrofracking, Media and Credibility

14 Part 1: Credibility in Diagrams

15 L24, Slide 1 Does this Web page strike you as a credible source? Why or why not?

16 Yes It is probably a credible website because its URL indicates that it is from an educational institution (.edu). In this case, the website is from the Idaho Museum of Natural History (http://imnh) housed at Idaho State University (.isu). On the bottom of the Web page, you can also see a link to Source Information that lets you know where the article information originated. The Source Information is presented on the next slide. L24, Slide 2

17 L24, Slide 3 Discuss the credibility of the sources for the What is an Aquifer? article.

18 Excerpt from What is an Aquifer? What is an Aquifer? An aquifer is a body of saturated rock through which water can easily move. Aquifers must be both permeable and porous… Why is Groundwater So Clean? Aquifers are natural filters that trap sediment and other particles (like bacteria) and provide natural purification of the ground water flowing through them. How is an Aquifer Contaminated? An aquifer can be contaminated by many things we do at and near the surface of the earth. Contaminants reach the water table by any natural or manmade pathway along which water can flow from the surface to the aquifer…In general, any activity which creates a pathway that speeds the rate at which water can move from the surface to the water table has an impact. L24, Slide 4 "What Is an Aquifer?" Digital Atlas of Idaho. Idaho Museum of Natural History, Idaho State University, n.d. Web. 19 April 2012.

19 What is the message in this diagram about the potential dangers of aquifer contamination from hydraulic fracturing drilling? What is your evidence from the document? What is the message in this diagram about the potential dangers of aquifer contamination from hydraulic fracturing drilling? What is your evidence from the document? L24, Slide 5

20 What is the message in this diagram about the potential dangers of aquifer contamination from hydraulic fracturing drilling? What is your evidence from the document? What is the message in this diagram about the potential dangers of aquifer contamination from hydraulic fracturing drilling? What is your evidence from the document? L24, Slide 6

21 L24, Slide 7 Which diagram was created by the natural gas industry and which by an opponent of hydrofracking? What is the evidence in the document for your guess? Which diagram was created by the natural gas industry and which by an opponent of hydrofracking? What is the evidence in the document for your guess?

22 L24, Slide 8 Produced by Lisa Bracken, a hydrofracking opponent whose Fracked Franks Hydraulic Fracturing Primer is on her website, Journey of the Forsaken Produced by Energy in Depth, a campaign mounted by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)

23 What questions might you ask about these diagrams in order to judge their credibility? L24, Slide 9

24 What questions might you ask about these diagrams in order to judge their credibility? Who created the diagram? In what context was it used? Who paid for its use? What is the mission of the producer? When was it made? Are there texts or diagrams from other sources that confirm or challenge this interpretation? L24, Slide 10

25 Comparing Two Video Clips Gasland The Truth About Gasland

26 Part 3: Credibility in a Google Search

27 L24, Slide At first glance, which sources would you consider more credible and which sources would you consider less credible and why?

28 Tips for judging the credibility of a media source Identify the source, its funding and mission and speculate on how that may influence the information Assess and verify the currency and accuracy of the information Reflect on how ones own bias may influence ones judgments about the credibility of the information Seek, compare and evaluate the information from diverse sources L24, Slide 13

29 Further Questions Analyzing Media Messages – How does the mission of the media producer affect the message in the media document? – What role does information concerning the financial support of a media producer play in understanding media messages? – What information was left out of each document that might be important to know?

30 Self Reflection – Where is the nearest hydrofracking operation to where you live? How can you find out if you do not know? – What did you learn about yourself from your interpretation of these media documents? – How is energy production connected to the water you drink? – Who among your friends and family has spoken about natural gas drilling? What is their opinion about hydrofracking ?

31 Underlying Values and Motives – The producers of The Truth About Gasland state in the video that we have the responsibility to develop this natural resource with a constant sense of stewardship to the land. Is this true? – How can we decide what to believe when two well-made film productions argue for such different conclusions? – Sustainability ideally joins together a short-term and a long-term perspective on supporting community well-being. Do you see ways to meet short-term and long-term needs around energy issues in the Finger Lakes in and elswhere? If so, how might you get different people to agree on this as a value and as a realistic possibility?


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