Is it the “New Wave” of our Future?
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking” is responsible for the historic boom in production of domestic gas and oil. Over the past few years, advances in fracking creates fractures that extend from wells into oil and gas formations by pumping highly-pressurized fluid; water, sand, ceramic beads, and a mixture of chemicals into the oil or gas formation. As this fluid holds the underground fissures open, oil and gas flow up the well to the surface where they can be recovered. Over the past few years, advances in fracking technology have made tremendous reserves of natural gas in the United States economically recoverable for the first time. According to the Energy Information Administration, shale gas plays, or fields, in the United States; most notably the Marcellus, in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York, and in Texas are said to contain enough natural gas power the country for 110 years. In 2000, shale beds provided 1 percent of America’s natural gas supply. Today, that figure stands at nearly 25 percent. Most of that population increase is due to the growing popularity of hydraulic fracturing. With the enticing specter of energy independence in the balance, some have argued that such efforts to recover gas need to be expanded. While some activists believe that fracking’s potential environment hazards view the process as a serious threat. Water makes up a high percentage of fracking fluid that fluid also flows back up the well, and is stored in open pits until it can be sent to a treatment plant. A variable amount of fracking fluid remains in the ground after a well has run dry. Fracking is known to produce airborne pollutants like methane, benzene, and sulfur oxide. The EPA has recently targeted this pollution and plans to set strict guidelines to reduce it. The first use of hydraulic fracturing was in 1947, but the modern fracking technique that made the extraction...
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