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Fracking, ’cause their brains are lacking….

Those familiar with the little business square divided into quadrants will likely recognize hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” as falling into the “Wrong Thing, Wrong Way” quadrant. :-) At a time when climate change (feeling the heat in the U.S. South and East Coast this summer? :-) ) causes intelligent folks to question the wisdom of burning fossil fuels, drillers of gas wells insist on doing the drilling in stupid ways.

A new bumper sticker went on sale yesterday at the southeastern edge of Santa Cruz County: “Don’t frack Aromas.” A seismic survey wrapped up last week. According to Jim Leap, a resident of the area, road crews first said that they were mapping earthquake faults. Later, a crew member mentioned oil exploration. The company that commissioned the seismic survey, in which four large trucks sent vibrations into the earth where their echoes were mapped by approximately 2,000 geophones, is named Freedom Resources, a 2-year-old company based in Watsonville. (Those familiar with the area know that there is a census-designated place named “Freedom” in the vicinity. However, a Google Search turns up Freedom Resources LLC of Dallas, TX, which has a Better Business Bureau rating of D- on a scale of A+ to F. I’m not sure whether the companies are related or not!) Freedom Resources does not have a listed phone number nor a Web site. :-) A spokesman for the company, Jeff Austin of San Francisco-based Albion Partners, said that Freedom Resources collected the data to sell, not for its own use. Albion Partners managed the survey for Freedom Resources. Austin said that representatives of Freedom Resources declined a Santa Cruz Sentinel request to comment directly. :-)

Does any of this sound suspicious to YOU? 😉 BTW, if you are not already aware of it, fracking for natural gas production is associated with clusters of micro-earthquakes in places like Ohio, which generally do not HAVE earthquakes, at least not often.

Imagine what fracking could do in California! I mean, BESIDE pollute the groundwater. :-)

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Austin confirmed oil and gas exploration was “one of the drivers” of the survey. He said data also might be used by academic researchers.

Signal Hill-based NodalSeismic conducted the underground mapping project. NodalSeismic spokeswoman Rachel Stocking said the company primarily works with the oil and gas industry.

Austin said NodalSeismic deployed four large trucks to send vibrations into the earth, where they were picked up by some 2,000 geophones, devices designed to read seismic vibrations and provide data about subsurface structures. More than three dozen people worked on the mapping, a project that started June 1 with field surveys and concluded with a week of data collection. Austin said he was not authorized to reveal the cost of the endeavor.

The work was done in neighborhoods surrounding Granite Rock Co.’s A.R. Wilson Quarry. Vice President Tom Squeri said Graniterock was not a sponsor, but cooperated with the study.

“They’ve agreed to share any information they glean about our granite deposits,” Squeri said.

A new watchdog group, Aromas Cares about our Environment, has gathered over 110 “friends” on its Facebook page, and planned a forum for yesterday. Right now, the group is in “investigation” mode, since so little is known about the company involved with the seismic survey.

Geologists point to oil in the region, noting the the Monterey Shale Formation runs east of Highway 101, stretching from Santa Clara County through the Central Valley to Ventura County. Federal energy officials estimate that the formation contains almost 2/3 of the U.S. shale oil reserves.

Production wells in the Sargent Oil Field lie north of Highway 129 in neighboring Santa Clara County. One Santa Cruz geologist said the area tends to produce a less desirable, viscous oil.

According to Pat Lerman of Aromas Cares about our Environment:

“(The group) started with five people last week and by the end of the week we had 50 people and now there’s 100 people participating in some way,” Lerman said. “We have people who have enormous amounts of talent and expertise, and we’re going to be watch-dogging it.”

-Bill at

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