90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
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
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 17, 2014
Germany's Andre Schuerrle, left, celebrates scoring his side's 6th goal as Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar reacts during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.  Germany went on to win the World Cup championship later that month. (AP)

From the Sochi Olympics and Ray Rice to Lebron’s return to Cleveland, we’ll unpack a big year in sports.

 
Dec 17, 2014
Relatives of a victim of a Taliban attack in a school, mourn over her lifeless body at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP)

The Taliban take responsibility for killing more than 100 Pakistani schoolchildren. We ask why there, why now.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment
 
Quinn Sullivan, LIVE In Our Studio
Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014

Fifteen-year old Quinn Sullivan is a humble, “ordinary” high school sophomore. But he’s also a blues guitar phenom. He brought his talents to the On Point studio today.

More »
Comment