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Alaska is about to get fracked up

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Alaska's been coasting on its stores of easy-access oil, but a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that the state has a motherlode of shale oil and natural gas. You know what means — here come the frackers.

The numbers are impressive: as much as 80 trillion cubic feet of frackable natural gas and up to 2 billion barrels of shale oil. To put that in perspective, the natural gas resources are smaller than the Marcellus Shale, which underlays Pennsylvania and New York, and smaller than Texas' Haynesville and Eagle Ford shale formations — but it's still the fourth biggest parcel in the U.S. The oil shale is the second biggest deposit in the country; only North Dakota's Bakken Formation has more.

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If you're inclined to look on the bright side about oil and gas fracking, there are a couple of positives here. These resources aren't in developed areas, which minimizes the health risks that come with fracking. And for the most part, these resources are also outside of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, so fracking would be better for the local ecology than drilling for conventional oil in ANWR.

But oil and gas development always carries risks. Plus, if these natural gas resources are developed, Alaska will likely have to liquify the gas in order to ship it off and sell it. Creating liquified natural gas takes a ton of energy and helps wipe out natural gas' carbon advantage over fuels like coal and oil.

Sarah Laskow is a reporter based in New York City who covers environment, energy, and sustainability issues, among other things. Follow her on Twitter.

straight to the source

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I'd say all people reading my words like oil. Including Steve.

So more oil is good.


"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies."

Senator Barack Obama
Senate Floor Speech on Public Debt
March 16, 2006



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I doubt the North Slope will see any fracking done for sometime yet. There's too much clean and easy oil to get up there yet. Lots of it in fact. All we need is for the Senate to open it up. The Dems have killed opening up new fields up there for years now...Pelosi is no friend of oil exploration.

Edited by Why_Me

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"I want to take this opportunity to mention how thankful I am for an Obama re-election. The choice was clear. We cannot live in a country that treats homosexuals and women as second class citizens. Homosexuals deserve all of the rights and benefits of marriage that heterosexuals receive. Women deserve to be treated with respect and their salaries should not depend on their gender, but their quality of work. I am also thankful that the great, progressive state of California once again voted for the correct President. America is moving forward, and the direction is a positive one."

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