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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/23/18

Did fracking cause the Hawaii volcano eruption?

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"It is already known that pumping large quantities of water underground can induce minor earthquakes near to geothermal power generation and fracking sites. However, the new evidence reveals the potential for much larger earthquakes, of magnitude 4 or 5, related to the weakening of pre-existing underground faults through increased fluid pressure.

"The water injection appears to prime cracks in the rock, making them vulnerable to triggering by tremors from earthquakes thousands of miles away. Nicholas van der Elst, the lead author on one of three studies published on Thursday in the journal Science, said: 'These [injected] fluids are driving [earthquake] faults to their tipping point.'

"The analysis of the Californian site showed that for a net injection of 500m gallons of water into the ground per month, there is an earthquake on average every 11 days.

"Heather Savage, a co-author on the same study said: 'It is already accepted that when we have very large earthquakes seismic waves travel all over the globe, but even though the waves are small when they reach the other side of the world, they still shake faults [such as the faults induced by geothermal water-injection]. This can trigger seismicity in seismically active areas SUCH AS VOLCANOES where there is already a high fluid pressure.'" (emphasis added)

So, on the Big Island of Hawaii, where there is a massive volcanic eruption underway, there is a geothermal plant, PGV. How close to the volcano is PGV?

The Washington Post, May 12: "Long a concern for residents and the target of lawsuits challenging its placement ON AN ACTIVE VOLCANO, the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) is a major safety issue [i.e., chemicals stored at PGV] in the wake of the eruptions and earthquakes that have shaken the Big Island for days, government officials say." (emphasis added)

I see. PGV is ON the volcano. Other reports claim PGV is 15 miles from the volcano. In either case, PGV is close, very close.

Who owns PGV? Ormat Technologies. Through internal merger and stock swapping, Ormat appears to be a jointly owned Israeli and US company now.

Ormat is no stranger to scandals. At blog.heartland.org, H Sterling Burnett writes (4/1/15):

"One scandal that could haunt [Harry] Reid for his remaining time in the Senate (and possibly beyond) was reported on recently in the Washington Free Beacon and Courthouse News. It seems the Reid helped the green energy company, Ormat Technologies, a firm that owns and manages geothermal plants in California and Hawaii, secure nearly $136 million in economic stimulus funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"Two former employees are suing the firm, claiming Ormat executives defrauded the United States of more than $130 million by reporting false information about two projects to get government grants, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

"Reid's ties to Ormat are deep. The company runs geothermal plants in Nevada and Reid has been a big booster of the company in D.C. As reported in the Free Beacon, 'Reid bragged about securing Ormat a $350 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DOE) and took credit for expanding the Treasury program that the former employees say illicitly provided Ormat with millions more in taxpayer funds.'

"It is also worth noting that Ormat's DOE award came a year after investors sued the company for allegedly inflating its stock price through 'fraudulent accounting and overstated financial results.' Ormat settled the allegations in 2012 for $3.1 million."

Ormat potentially faces a much larger scandal now.

A massive volcanic eruption on the Island of Hawaii.

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Jon Rappoport has worked as a free-lance investigative reporter for over 30 years. He has written articles on politics, health, media, culture and art for LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, Village Voice, Nexus, CBS Healthwatch, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe.

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