April 15, 2013
Hydraulic Fracturing: The Problem
Hydraulic Fracturing or fracking was first introduced in 1940s and has then been a key provider of natural gas and oil worldwide. Despite its expansion and customary use, fracking still poses many health and environmental concerns. During fracking, pressurized liquids are injected into drilled wells, which cause the surrounding rock to crack open allowing gas and oil flow through the fissures. Millions of gallons of water are used and a similarly large volume of waste water is generated. Most of the water is never restored and the stored waste water and fracking fluid can adversely affect the animals and vegetation around it. Along with the water, other chemicals are injected into the ground as far as 10,000 feet below the surface and enter groundwater, polluting drinking sources for many. Fracking may be a key provider of oil but this expensive, polluting, low energy-return process is not worth the loss of wildlife habitat, natural land and innumerable water resources.
‘ Spills, accidents, improper disposal and poor well construction can lead the toxic chemicals in fracking fluid entering drinking water; more than 1,000 cases of water contamination near drilling sites were documented nationally’ according to the Food and Water Watch group. This adverse pollution of groundwater cannot be reversed and it may be difficult to detect and address all the problem sources because Fracking Companies do not need to disclose what is used in the process. Fracking can also lead to droughts as water is sometimes extracted from already water-deprived communities. Only a tiny percent of water is regained and stored in pits, and still ends up being hazardous to living things around them. There were many reports of illnesses in livestock that were exposed to these waste water pits, and according to the results of an experimental study every tree exposed to fracking...