SAN BENITO COUNTY, Calif.- Drilling for oil is big business and California is a "hot bed" for oil
exploration. A controversial process called fracking, a method being used to get oil
underneath the earth's surface. The fractures are thousands of feet below the surface and the process
injects rocks with chemically-laced water and sand.
There's a new
fracking process that could affect the
Monterey shale where billions of
barrels of oil are said to be stored. Some said it's bad for the environment, while others said it's good for the
economy. It's called dry fracking and basically it means that chemically-laced water isn't being used. We are learning gases and other chemicals are being used.
Environmental groups said so far dry fracking is mostly happening in Texas,
but they fear it coming to
California very soon. In doing some research online, we found two Texas-based companies using an
alternative fracking process called dry fracking. San Francisco-based environmental group, Center for Biological Diversity,
said it's too early to tell if this new process, which shoots powerful gases
into the ground, is any safer than traditional fracking.
"There's still a number of very significant environmental concerns
associated with fracking even if you don't use water," said Center for Biological Diversity media specialist Patrick Sullivan.
Another company called GasFrac, said it uses a gel-type product instead of
water and calls it a "green process". Biological Diversity said whether it's gel or gas, it's still concerned
about air quality and the possibility of it contributing to earthquakes.
"You're looking at threats to endangered species, we're talking about damage
to roads and other infrastructure," Sullivan said.
GasFrac's CEO could not be reached for comment. Local environmental group Aromas Cares For Our Environment (ACE) said it's
well aware of dry or gel-based fracking and worries about the stability of the
"Really scares me, first of all about the safety during production because
somebody could light a cigarette and there you go, the whole town blows up,"
said ACE's Patricia Lerman.
While ACE isn't opposed to oil exploration, it's hoping this new form of
fracking doesn't make its way to the Central Coast. The Center for Biological Diversity said ground water still comes up,
causing concern for impact the process has on our drinking water.