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De facto Fracking Moratorium: Drill but do not Frack

Update: 2014-12-05

The three crucial “NOs” . The first one was the Iran P5+1, the second was, The Opec Vienna meeting which ended with no decision on production. And the Third “No” was the Swiss referendum on gold. We expected these results well in advance (please read the articles “all is quiet on the eastern front” , and “high prices end high prices” )

The OPEC Meeting and Fracking

The decision of OPEC to abstain from defending the falling prices of crude oil through cutting production solved “two important questions in America:The obvious one, is the issue of banning fracking , and the second one is whether the 41 years old ban on export of crude oil should be lifted or not.

Recently, fracking has become very unpopular in many countries and most have imposed restrictions on fracking, fracking moratorium, and even fracking ban, except in the USA, where all these measures are unconstitutional.

In the USA, due to many reasons, fracking boom has progressed at breakneck speed across the U.S., with roughly one in 20 Americans now living within a mile of a well drilled. The growing efforts by state and local governments in the USA to stop hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to extract natural gas were futile because landowners in the USA can lease mineral rights to their property, a right landowners do not possess anywhere else in the world ( Property and Mineral Rights). Also the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. constitution says, in part, that private property cannot be taken for public use ‘without just compensation’. Towns and cities in the USA resorted to zoning laws to restrict or prohibit fracking. Pennsylvania allows local municipalities to restrict fracking, while Colorado and California are struggling with the issue. Even in Texas, some small towns has a fracking moratorium while others consider whether to impose a permanent ban.

Today, On 4th N0v 20014, in Denton,Texas, the birthplace of fracking, the people voted to ban fracking, and they have become the first municipality to do so. However, landowners and those in the oil and gas industry are planning to take the city to court. Democracy at its best, but, it is unconstitutional and should end up in the Supreme Court again and there is a precedent.

The Texas Oil and Gas Association also called the ban unconstitutional. Because of current shale economics, the group says, the measure amounts to a ban on all drilling – denying mineral owners their property rights. TXOGA asked the court to declare the ordinance invalid and unenforceable.

What OPEC did on Nov 27 2014, on behalf of the American public, it could not have been done constitutionally by any American administration. OPEC, by its action imposed Fracking Moratorium on fracking in USA without any constitutional hustle. It saved the towns the cities, going into the trouble of imposing bans. The frackers have now no choice but yield to OPEC action without taking the American Municipalities, to court

This puts USA in line with other Governments, like UK, France, and most European who has imposed a ban on fracking“fracturing must be made safer for the environment before it is used to develop natural gas from shale resources”

“fracturing must be made safer for the environment before it is used to develop natural gas from shale resources”-click here to see world wide list-click here to see world wide list

This also explains, the reason why all Europeans, and the USA, stood on the sidelines watching while OPEC was hammering the frackers by just taking no action to stop the price fall.Now not only fracking is in the firing line but also shale gas waste and the leakages, and intentionally flared for safety and economic reasons.

The first thorough comparison of evidence for natural gas system leaks confirms that organizations including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have underestimated U.S. methane emissions generally, as well as those from the natural gas industry specifically. Natural gas consists predominantly of methane, small leaks from the natural gas system, is about 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The World Bank estimates that in North Dakota alone, natural gas flares produce the same amount of global warming pollution as 2.5 million cars and this number is even higher taking the fracking wastes into account. Pound for pound, methane is at least 100 times more powerful over a 20-year period than carbon dioxide.

Jabbar al-Jaf former OPEC Econometrician Analyst