Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bill would ban hydraulic fracturing in Arizona

A bill introduced into the Arizona legislature would ban the use of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" for oil and gas.  The bill amends the Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality statutes.

HB2463 defines it as   "Hydraulic fracturing" means the process of pumping a fluid into or under the surface of the ground in order to create fractures in rock for the purpose of the production or recovery of oil or natural gas."

The specific language in section 49-211 states "Hydraulic fracturing prohibited A person may not engage in hydraulic fracturing in this state and may not collect, store or treat water in this state if that water is used in, generated by or resulting from the process of hydraulic fracturing."   [Right, schematic diagram of hydraulic fracturing process. Credit, US EPA]

There is no hydraulic fracturing going on in Arizona and it was only used historically in a few exploration wells that never went into production.    Residents in Santa Cruz County have been concerned about two proposed oil and gas exploration wells in the area even though the operator has stated repeatedly that they are not going to frack those wells.  The company also does not have permits to do so.

The bill was introduced by Representatives Mendez, Sherwood, Andrade, and Velasquez.


  1. Anonymous3:30 AM

    here we go again. The luddites strike again wanting to halt all progress in this state. Scaremongering again.

  2. Steve Axen. P.E.10:00 AM

    Hydraulic fracturing was used by Occidental Minerals Corp. during a test program for in-situ copper mining at the Van Dyke copper deposit near Miami, Arizona from about 1979 to 1982. Details of this test have not been published, and it was not necessary to obtain permits at that time. Based on water monitoring during the test, there was no evidence of groundwater contamination distant from the deposit. The purpose of this comment is to illustrate that there can be applications for technologies such as hydraulic fracturing which are not related to petroleum extraction, and which can be conducted safely in geologic environments different than those normally associated with petroleum production. It is worth considering that a blanket ban on use of such technologies could have unexpected consequences, hinder or pervent development of resources, and impose unplanned economic costs.