Fracking in Nevada
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|Fracking in Nevada|
|Regulatory agency||Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources|
|Fossil fuels present||Limited oil and natural gas reserves|
|Year fracking began||2014|
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On August 28, 2014, the Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources approved new rules that will regulate hydraulic fracturing in that state. The approval of these rules signals the completion of Senate Bill 390, passed in June 2013, which created new regulations for the oil and natural gas extraction practice.
These regulations require the fracking chemicals used during the fracking process to be limited to those listed on the Division of Minerals' website (a division of the Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources). Other chemicals can only be used if a waiver had previously been granted by the Division of Minerals. These specially approved chemicals must then be listed on FracFocus.org within 60 days of use. Baseline and subsequent water monitoring samples are also required for all wells within one mile of a well that has been fracked. Baseline samples must be taken within one year of a well being fracked, and subsequent samples must be taken first within six and 12 months after fracking, and again between 60 and 72 months later. The law also created new requirements for flowback water, and well cementing and casing.
- See also: Fracking
Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is the process of injecting fluid--mostly water and sand, but with additional chemicals--into the ground at a high pressure to fracture shale rocks and release the oil and natural gas inside.
Recent technological advances in oil and gas drilling--horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing--have created a wealth of opportunities and challenges for states with fossil fuel reserves that can be accessed through the combination of these two technologies. The increased use of fracking has been an economic boon for many states, not only those with fracking, but also those with supporting industries, such as frac sand mining or associated machinery manufacturing.
Opponents of fracking argue that the potential negative environmental and human health impacts could be significant. Although wells have been fracked for over 65 years in the United States, concerns have been raised about whether federal, state and local regulatory agencies can keep up with the recent rapid increase in fracking activity, and adequately protect the environment and human health. As with any type of energy extraction, either traditional or renewable, there are economic, environmental and political tradeoffs.
Fracking on federal lands
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held a lease sale on July 17, 2014, for 102 parcels in Nevada. Together, the parcels encompassed 270 miles of public land. The land could be open to fracking, which took place for the first time in the state in March 2014. Lander County, along with the environmental group, the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a formal challenge against the sale. According to USA Today, the two parties questioned "how exploration companies will obtain the necessary water...and why the BLM plans to allow the companies to lease land that many ranchers and farmers were interested in buying for grazing and growing alfalfa."
In early July 2014, Reese River Basin Citizens Against Fracking filed suit against the BLM to halt the sale of the leases. The group argued that the BLM, in conducting its preliminary analysis of the matter and making the decision to sell the leases, failed to account for the discovery of a significant shale deposit in the southeastern part of the state. In the lawsuit, the group says, "The discovery of this rich shale deposit is a complete game-changer and renders any reliance on past gas exploration unreasonable, if not disingenuous."
According to some experts, exploration of this shale deposit (known as the Chainman Shale) could result in the creation of 21,000 jobs and add as much as $1.8 billion to the land's value. Timothy Considine, an energy economics professor from the University of Wyoming, said, "The Chainman Shale is believed to have some of the richest shale rock characteristics of oil in the country and possibly the world."
Natural gas use in Nevada
- For more information on energy consumption in Nevada, see "Energy policy in Nevada"
In 2011, almost one-third of Nevada’s energy was for transportation, one quarter each was used in the industrial and residential sectors, and the remainder was used mostly in the commercial sector. Most of the energy used in the state is in the form of natural gas (used primarily for home heating and air conditioning), followed by petroleum to support tourism in Las Vegas and Reno.
|Consumption of energy for heating homes in Nevada|
|Source||Nevada 2011||U.S. average 2011|
|Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG)||2.9%||5%|
Nevada produces a small amount of natural gas and imports the rest through interstate pipelines. Utah and Wyoming are the core providers of natural gas to the state. Secondary sources come from Arizona’s pipeline that connects Texas and New Mexico and the Malin Trading Hub in Oregon and Idaho.
|Where electricity comes from in Nevada|
|Type||Amount generated (MWh)||% of state**||% of U.S.**|
|Total net electricity generation||2,785||100%||0%|
|**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.|
The Nevada Public Utilities Commission reports that it regulates 30 utility sellers in Nevada. Ten of these are electric utilities, one natural gas, three liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), two geothermal, and thirteen alternative energy suppliers.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Nevada+Fracking"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Energy policy in Nevada
- Fracking in the United States
- Energy use in the United States
- Energy policy in the United States
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Nevada Profile"
- Frac Focus, "National Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Registry"
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Nevada Profile Analysis," updated December 18, 2013
- Reno Gazette-Journal, "State regulators allow fracking to start in Nevada," August 28, 2014
- Norton Rose Fullbright, "Nevada drafts hydraulic fracturing regulations," February 27, 2014
- USA Today, "Rural county protests fracking in Nevada," June 1, 2014
- Mohave Valley Daily News, "Group files lawsuit to block Nevada fracking," July 3, 2014
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Nevada State Energy Profile," accessed February 22, 2014
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Nevada Profile Overview," accessed February 22, 2014
- Public Utilities Commission, "Electric, Natural Gas, LP Gas, and Alternate Sellers of Natural Gas Lists," accessed February 23, 2014
State of Nevada
Carson City (capital)
|State executive officers||
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