by Rabb!t / Earth First! Newswire
I seem to remember a time when sucking oil out of the ground and burning it into the atmosphere was all that climate change activists really had to worry about. But as that oil gets difficult to find and restrictions on unsustainable practices become increasingly commonplace, extraction companies are finding inventive, out-there ways of ruining the planet, and are giving them similarly inventive, out-there names. After years of fighting deep water drilling, mountain-top removal, tar sands extraction and hydrofracturing (fracking), environmentalists now have another crazy energy extraction supervillian to stand up to, and it goes by the name “Acid Jobs.”
I know what you’re thinking, but despite the etymological implications, “acid jobs” are no fun at all.
Acid jobs use a cocktail of hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals to melt rocks and other “obstructions” in oil wells, allowing oil to flow more freely for extraction. The process is similar to fracking, which uses chemicals to break up rock formations and release the natural gas and oil underneath, and the long-term effects and extent of the damage are just as unknown. According to Rory Carroll and Braden Reddall of Reuters, companies are not even required to report when they use acid jobs on drill sites, and no one knows exactly how far these corrosive chemicals seep into the Earth. Bill Allayaud of the Environmental Working Group says, “These are super-hazardous, poisonous chemicals and we have no idea what they are doing out there with it – how deep it is going, the volumes – nothing.”
Acid jobs are especially a problem in California. It’s estimated that the Monterey shale holds more oil than Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – some 15 billion barrels. While fracking issues in California have recently received lots of attention from environmental groups, acid jobs have gone almost completely unnoticed, even though they are used much more frequently during fossil fuel extraction. This is largely because fracking is under so much scrutiny at the moment, while acid jobs can be used with similar results and less negative response from environmental groups and the media.
Like chemists creating new research chemicals to replace popular drugs as they become illegal, it seems fossil fuel companies are staying a step ahead of legislation.
Considering the time it has taken for any sort of restrictions and regulations on fracking to be put into place, even with the nation-wide support anti-fracking activism has gained in the last few years, it is likely that back-alley acid jobs will be going unrestricted for some time.