Science of Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)

Speakers: Mark Abolins, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Middle Tennessee State University and Michael K. Burton, Supervisor, Tennessee Oil and Gas Program

Natural gas exploration has arrived in the Volunteer State! Dr. Mark Abolins, an Associate Professor in the Middle Tennessee State University Geosciences Department, and Michael Burton, Supervisor of the Tennessee Oil and Gas Program, will lead a discussion of this often controversial practice. Learn the complexities involving local environmental concerns, on one hand, and a variety of potential benefits on the other. Concerns involve (but are not limited to) potential water pollution and the potential to trigger earthquakes, and benefits can include reduced greenhouse gas emissions relative to coal, lower consumer energy costs, domestic as opposed to foreign energy production, and job creation.

Mark Abolins, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Geosciences Department. He has a broad education in natural science including a bachelor’s degree in geology and integrative biology from the University of California, Berkeley and a doctorate in geology from the California Institute of Technology. Working with numerous colleagues at MTSU, Dr. Abolins is currently in the first year of a three year National Science Foundation project in which future science teachers engage in environmental research. His own part of the larger project concerns the study of fractures and their connection to groundwater movement in central Tennessee. His research and educational efforts are not funded by the energy industry or environmental groups.

Michael K. Burton, is supervisor of the Tennessee Oil and Gas Program. He has been in this position since 1996. As supervisor he is responsible for the permitting and environmental issues for all oil and gas sites within the state. Prior to his current position, Mr. Burton worked for the Well Head Protection Program at the State of Tennessee, as a geologist and engineer technician with Geologic Associates, and as a geologist with ERM Southeast. He received his BS in Geology from the University of Tennessee at Martin and his MS in Geology from the University of Memphis.

Join or login to comment.

  • Christopher A.

    Gasland II Premiere with Director Josh Fox
    https://www.facebook.com/events/633797546643667/

    The Southern Energy Network and the Sierra Club - Tennessee Chapter are hosting Gasland II director Josh Fox to screen the new film in Nashville! Join us Saturday, October 5 for a free screening and a Q&A with Josh.

    ** $5 suggested donation
    ** Harambee Auditorium at the Scaritt Bennett Center in Nashville, located on the first floor of Fondren Hall
    [masked]th Avenue S.
    Nashville, TN 37212

    ** Carpooling encouraged! The Vanderbilt homecoming game is that evening, so parking will be a bit harder than usual

    Three years ago, Josh Fox introduced us to hydraulic fracturing with his Oscar®-nominated exposé Gasland. In his follow-up, Fox undertakes an unflinching, fearless investigation of the toxic influences polluting our democracy.

    1 · September 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I applaud all of you who are more concerned about the long-term consequences of fracking than about the producers of the gas. If you read Huffington Post's Green page, you will see article after article about fracking and leaks and protests and information about jobs and where the XL products are going. I believe that many of our representatives from TN are very short-sighted about this issue.
    If anyone is interested, look up citizensclimatelobby.org and see what you might do to help.

    1 · September 22, 2013

  • Will S.

    Interesting discussion. More political than scietific

    September 21, 2013

    • Christopher A.

      Aristotle defined political science as the study of the state.
      Economics = science dealing with the choices we make when faced with scarcity.
      Ethics = science dealing with the limitations we place on ourselves when faced with scarcity.

      September 22, 2013

    • Christopher A.

      Sir Thomas More: Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for a gas well in TN?
      "A Man For All Seasons"

      September 22, 2013

  • Christopher A.

    September 22, 2013

  • Christopher A.

    Conflicts of interest in new fracking emissions study
    http://public-accountability.org/blog/

    Industry Funded Fracking Study Fatally Flawed
    http://ecowatch.com/2013/industry-funded-fracking-study-flawed/

    Keystone XL Decision Delayed Again? Conflict of Interest Report Pushed to 2014
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brendan-demelle/keystone-xl-decision-dela_b_3806836.html

    September 22, 2013

  • Christopher A.

    With so many small wells essentially flying under the radar, you can't get to the science quite often. That's kind of the point...science is not a static body of knowledge (even if we had all the sites tested). It's a process and that process...well...see undisclosed, proprietary blends and gag orders (most recently including a 7yr old in PA). Our medical providers are not up to the speed of the NE either! I shudder to think how many people's "allergies" and other systemic issues are related at least in part to chemical exposures. Oxidate stress and fertility...look around on PubMed. I had to drive a family member to Cleveland to get proper testing and treatment for a chemical exposure, again, proprietary, copyrighted "inert ingredients" that not even our State Poison Control has access to. Gag orders aren't really necessary down here. Toxic tort law has been sufficiently gutted by our legislature.

    1 · September 20, 2013

    • Christopher A.

      TSCA, our core national law covering toxics in everyday products, hasn't been updated in decades! 80,000+ registered chemicals on the market! Autism...1 in 50 now. Again, see PubMed..."chemical exposure, oxidative stress, fertility, dna integrity"...have fun! If you want to see some of the worst studies, look into dna integrity and infertility in men in proximity to agricultural areas. Notice where the worst studies come from? It's the same place that our FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods comes from...Missouri...see Monsanto headquarters.

      1 · September 20, 2013

  • Mark B.

    OK it ended up more about regulatory politics than science

    September 20, 2013

  • Chester L.

    The meeting served as an excellent primer on the science and technology of hydraulic fracturing. Please remember that these additional regulations apply to the massive water-based fracturing operations of which (as we learned) none have occurred in Tenn. It was implied (but not detailed) that the much smaller fracturing operations (e.g. high-pressure N2) are more common in Tenn and that we have an existing set of regulations for those. Regarding GHG emissions, I am equally concerned about the small frac jobs. If the Federal EPA has primacy over the GHG emission issues, whose reg's are in-play for the small frac jobs?

    1 · September 20, 2013

  • russ w.

    one- sided fracking presentation started by mtsu geology apologist who introduced bureaucrat trying to pretend that regulations covering less than one percent of gas wells are really really not useless - but wait ! next month is a psychic - at the science center ! yes things are much worse than you feared

    September 20, 2013

  • Christopher A.

    Colorado Floods Spur Fracking Concerns
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57603336/colorado-floods-spur-fracking-concerns/

    To add insult to injury...
    My lady Lynette and I recently did 5 days of flood relief / cleanup on behalf of the Sierra Club since there was so little being done by others in North Nashville following the second 1000 year flood in 3 years. Unfortunately necessity is too often the mother of invention. This is not a tree-hugging, philosophical issue. It is a matter of national security! The average household in America paid somewhere between $400 - $1100 in disaster relief taxes last year!

    September 20, 2013

  • Christopher A.

    Confirmed: Fracking practices to blame for Ohio earthquakes
    http://www.nbcnews.com/science/fracking-practices-blame-ohio-earthquakes-8C11073601

    September 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'd like to invite you, Jan, to join the Citizens Climate Lobby. It's a national non-profit organization that tries to educate the public and work with elected officials to urge them to address some of the issues you mentioned. I think those who stands to benefit from this technology may tend to minimize the possible and probable impact on our environment.

    September 19, 2013

  • Jan

    Very interesting cafe. Some of my concerns with fracking were addressed. I do think as a nation, given the profit margins involved and the potential for unethical/illegal behavior, we need to have more rigorous oversight over this process; the scales should be weighted more heavily in favor of environmental concerns. Technology will continue to advance, so maybe there will be a more cost effective method of cleaning much of the water used in hydraulic fracking. The chemicals used in certain methods are also of grave concern, not to mention the radon and uranium aspects mentioned this evening.

    September 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm coming as part of the Citizens Climate Lobby. I'm not sure I want to join, but I'd like to attend this meeting. May I?

    September 16, 2013

  • Nove

    Thu are bad for me

    September 16, 2013

Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Create a Meetup Group and meet new people

Get started Learn more
Henry

I decided to start Reno Motorcycle Riders Group because I wanted to be part of a group of people who enjoyed my passion... I was excited and nervous. Our group has grown by leaps and bounds. I never thought it would be this big.

Henry, started Reno Motorcycle Riders

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy