PLEDGE NOW
Better Fracking

Fracking for natural gas booms on. But it uses and pollutes a lot of water. We’ll look at the push to reduce, reuse, and recycle “frack water.”

In this Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 photo, oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. An emerging oil boom has been sparked by modern technologies using horizontal drilling and a technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to coax out oil and gas. The potential production from the Mississippian Lime formation here - and its impact on domestic energy supplies - remains uncertain. But the use of the technology to unlock energy supplies previously unavailable in the United States is now in play in places like Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. (AP)

In this Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 photo, oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. An emerging oil boom has been sparked by modern technologies using horizontal drilling and a technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to coax out oil and gas. The potential production from the Mississippian Lime formation here – and its impact on domestic energy supplies – remains uncertain. But the use of the technology to unlock energy supplies previously unavailable in the United States is now in play in places like Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. (AP)

Big talk lately about the United States emerging as an energy superpower.  Bigger than Saudi Arabia!  But at the heart of that is fracking, and fracking has issues.  A big one is water.  Hydraulic fracturing – “fracking” – take lots and lots of fresh water.  Billions of gallons.

And makes it dangerous and unusable for drinking, for farming – for anything really but more fracking.  This at a time of drought.  A time when the Missouri and Mississippi rivers are fighting for water.  Could we recycle this problem away?

This hour, On Point:  getting real on our fresh water and fracking.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Russell Gold, energy reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Eli Gruber, founder, chairman and CEO of Ecologix Environmental Systems, a wastewater treatment company specializing in hydraulic fracturing, municipal wastewater treatment and industrial wastewater.

Rob Jackson, professor of environmental sciences and biology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Anthony Ingraffea, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Bloomberg “Brent Halldorson, chief operating officer of Fountain Quail Water Management LLC, discusses his company’s management of water used by natural gas companies in hydraulic fracturing. As local and federal regulators raise questions about potential pollution from drilling operations, U.S. oil and gas producers are turning to water service companies like Quail Water Management to improve their handling of the millions of gallons of fluids involved in an average well.”

Wall Street Journal “From energy industry giants Halliburton Corp. HAL +1.20% and Schlumberger Ltd. SLB +1.38% to smaller outfits such as Ecologix Environmental Systems LLC, companies are pursuing technologies to reuse the “frack water” that comes out of wells after hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”—the process of using highly pressured water and chemicals to coax oil and gas out of shale-rock formations.”

Akron Beacon Journal “Sometimes it’s referred to as “residual waste,” more frequently “brine.” Most people know brine as a table salt solution. The ocean is brine. However, most inorganic compounds that are soluble are salts. It is a mistake to think any naturally formed brine has only the properties of a sodium chloride solution. It may be far more corrosive, poisonous or concentrated.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 9, 2016
Host Tom Ashbrook and producer Sarah Platt speak to supporters of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) outside the candidate's Manchester, N.H. campaign headquarters on Monday, February 8, 2016. (Katherine Brewer / WBUR)

We’re live in New Hampshire for the first in the nation primary day, with all the latest on how the big vote is shaping up.

Feb 9, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at a Rotary Club luncheon in Manchester, N.H., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

From New Hampshire, a deep dive, from Trump to Sanders, on how the candidates would approach the U.S. economy.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 8, 2016
Legendary film critic  Roger Ebert in an archival image from his early days at the Chicago Sun-Times. (Flickr / WikiCommons)

The critic speaks. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott on how to think about art, pleasure, beauty and truth.

 
Feb 8, 2016
Sign stands outside property for rent Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in south Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

If it feels like rents are sky-high, you’re right. Some now paying more than half their income on rent. Some say crisis. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #6: Bernie v. Hillary — The Electability Debate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Bill and Betty are not real New Hampshire voters. But their arguments about the Democratic race for President most certainly are.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #5: Ted Cruz — The Advocate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Texas Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is an impassioned advocate, Jack Beatty writes — but mostly for himself above all others.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment