Fracking is not the fossil fuel panacea the oil industry paints it as, says skeptic and peak oil analyst Richard Heinberg. He calls those claims “Snake Oil.”
In other states—North Dakota, Texas, Pennsylvania—the fracking boom is in full swing. California, though, is applying some constraints. A regulatory measure, signed into law by Gov. Brown 10 days ago, drew criticism from some environmental groups for allowing lax permitting to continue until the bill takes effect in 2015. But Heinberg points out, it is also the first such law to demand transparency regarding the chemical cocktails used in the fracking operations, thereby superseding the far looser federal standards.
But Heinberg also notes that California’s geology complicates accessing the reserves in the 1700 square mile Monterey Shale formation, much of it beneath the fertile farmland of the Central Valley.