Hawaii and fracking

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Hawaii does not have oil or natural gas reserves, although a fracking technique has been discussed for tapping the island's geothermal energy. On October 16, 2013, the county of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, banned fracking.[1]


Hawaii does not have oil or natural gas reserves, although Sen. Russell Ruderman has said some companies are looking to use "enhanced geothermal" to break through layers of rocks and tap reserves that cannot be accessed through conventional technology. He calls the process similar to fracking and introduced a bill in 2013 to ban fracking, but did not mention geothermal. Critics note that he is opposed to all geothermal energy.[2]

According to Seattle-based AltraRock Energy, geothermal fracking involves a process called hydro-shearing, in which water is pumped down wells into the reservoir to expand existing cracks. The company considered bidding on a project in Hawaii, but said they likely will not because the company does not own the land needed to conduct an operation.[2]

Geothermal fracking does use tracer chemicals, but the BLM says the agency "will know the individual chemicals being used in the proprietary products, which are 'like biodegradable plastic bags' that degrade when they get near the heat deep underground."[3]

Legislative issues and regulations

On October 16, 2013 the county of Hawaii banned the practice of fracking by vote of 9-0.[1]



  1. 1.0 1.1 "Council Votes to Restrict GMOs, Ban Fracking" Big Island Now, October 16, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sophie Cocke, "Lawmaker Raises Alarm About Geothermal Fracking in Hawaii," Honolulu Civil Beat, Jan 30, 2013.
  3. Cassandra Profita, "Geothermal Fractures Vs. Hydraulic Fracking: What's The Difference?" Ecotrope, Jan. 24, 2012.

Related SourceWatch articles

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