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The Fracking Truth

By now you have heard the term and probably know a little bit about fracking. But here is a little summary to refresh your memory.

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

Now that everyone is caught up, let’s ask the question that always gets brought up if fracking is mentioned. Is it good, or is it bad? It is up for your own interpretation. There are facts that support both. One truth is that fracking has been used commercially for 65 years. Today, the combination of advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, employing cutting-edge technologies, is mostly responsible for surging U.S. oil and natural gas production.

 

Pros

- There are enough fossil fuels “locked” in bedrock shale formations under North American soil to make the United States energy independent, and a net exporter of oil and gas, in the near future.

- Tapping those energy sources would make the United States less dependent, economically and politically, on unstable countries such as Venezuela and the Middle East. It would also enable the West to be less dependent on Russian natural gas, which Vladimir Putin currently uses as a political lever.

- The natural gas industry claims that fracking is safe because the shale formations lie far below the water table and pose a minimal threat to groundwater. They also claim that drilling for oil and gas is nothing new: we’ve been drilling for oil and gas for decades.

- Using natural gas to heat our homes and power our cars releases far fewer carbon emissions than coal. Proponents describe the growing natural gas industry as an environmentally pragmatic “bridge fuel” that will buy time until we can harness the power of wind, solar and hydro on a mass scale.

 

Cons

- Because fracking involves pumping a concoction of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to break apart the bedrock, environmentalists and private landowners worry that those chemicals could reach, and poison, the groundwater.

- Companies are not required to disclose the chemicals they use, or the formula of the mixture, in the process. That makes it difficult for local residents, or first responders, to prepare for an accident or emergency, and difficult for scientists to gauge the threat posed by the chemicals.

- Water for fracking is typically transported to well sites using heavy trucks, which turn pristine rural areas into industrial highways. The fracking, itself, is conducted day and night, causing both noise and light pollution for some nearby residents.

- The stakes are rising. According to environmental groups, energy companies are wanting to allow “resource play hubs”, (multiple drilling wells from the same site) which could exponentially deplete the local water supply.

 

So now that you have some facts for each side, we want to hear from you! Are you pro or anti frack? Comment below with your views, let’s get the conversation flowing!

 

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