fossil fuel resources continue to dwindle in America, we have been forced to
find other ways to support our energy demands. Rather than invest more money in
renewable energy sources, however, many oil and gas companies have decided to
pour money into “fracking”.
a dangerous and wasteful method of extracting natural gas from the ground, by
using poisonous chemicals and millions of gallons of freshwater. Just that
description alone should tell you how bad it is, but unfortunately, fracking is
on the rise right now in America.
political administration that supports fracking and a Congress that is more than
happy to take money from oil and gas lobbyists, it’s safe to say that fracking
poses a bigger threat to our country than it ever has before.
into why fracking is so harmful, and why we need to forget about using it as
soon as possible, lest we face some serious consequences.
How Fracking Works – the Juice is Not
worth the Squeeze
most of our major natural gas wells are drying up, the corporations that own
these wells have been forced to create new ways to harvest natural gas. Rather
than invest their billions of dollars into sustainable energy sources, they’ve
chosen to continue depeleting our finite fossil fuels to the very last drop.
a method used to extract natural gas from underground rock beds that are
otherwise inaccessible. This is done by pumping millions of gallons of fresh
water laced with chemicals and sand into the ground, cracking the rock. These
cracks are held open by the sand, and allow the natural gas trapped within
small pockets to be sucked out more easily by a pump.
Once the gas
is sucked out, the wastewater used to penetrate the rock is pumped deep back
underground where it is left to stay forever. The water is so contaminated with
chemicals that it’s unable to treated at a water plant, thus every batch of
fresh water used for fracking is forever ruined.
You can see
how this is a problem by itself. Our freshwater supply is not unlimited and
many scientists project worldwide water shortages to occur within the next
century or so.
The Environmental Impact
There are a
myriad of reasons fracking is terrible for our environment. Firstly, the amount
of energy used in the process of fracking is asinine.
It takes an
enormous amount of energy to power the wells used for fracking. The sand that’s
added to fracking fluid must be mined through an arduous process.
fracking wells dry up quicker than normal natural gas wells, they need to be
drilled much more frequently. This restarts the massive energy consuming
process with no end in sight.
There have also been reports of earthquakes in places where we
normally don’t see them, due to fracking. Oklahoma has been hit especially hard
because the sediment there is particularly vulnerable to fracking chemicals left underground.
produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is harmful to the atmosphere and one of
the main contributors to global warming. In addition to the natural production
of methane from fracking, it’s estimated that 3% of the natural gas extracted
from the earth evaporates into the air during the process.
Poisoning Our Water Supply
“You have a choice. Either you can
have more oil, or more clean water. Fracking is not good for the water supply.”
~ Michael Hudson, professor of economics at The University of Missouri
been around since the 1940’s, but it wasn’t until 2008 that the EPA directly implicated it in contaminating our water supply.
Since then, there have been many reports of drinking water being contaminated
by these underground pools of fracking fluid.
It got so
bad, that a critically acclaimed documentary
called “Gasland” was
made on the topic. Gasland became hugely popular after it exposed water
contamination from fracking in Colorado, Texas, Wyoming, Utah, and other
from towns in those states reported water so contaminated from fracking fluid
that it was completely undrinkable. Many of them had developed severe health
problems from inadvertently imbibing the chemicals, and some of the water was so
contaminated you could light it on fire as it came out of the tap!
consequences of fracking are obvious and provable, there is still enough doubt
for lawmakers to allow it to continue. We’ve only been using fracking
extensively for the past ten years or so, and proponents of it say that we
haven’t had enough time to study its effects on the environment.
Oil and gas
companies continue to shovel millions of dollars into the pockets of our government
representatives to influence the debate. To make matters worse, they’ve also
forced many people affected by fracking to sign non-disclosure agreements so
that they can’t go public with their complaints.
dollars have already been shelled out to victims of fracking in order to keep
them quiet, and this trend will continue as support for this dreadful practice persists.
a short-term solution to a long-term energy problem. If we want to have any
chance in the fight against global warming or leave a country with plenty of
fresh water for future generations, we’ll need to do whatever it takes to end it
as soon as possible.