English 2 Honors
13 November 2014
Hydraulic Fracking in the United States
Throughout the great American novel economic growth has been successfully cultivated by a wave of innovation, fueled by technological revolution while aided by a functional economic agenda and a healthy financial sector. Inventions like the steam engine, cotton gin, telegraph, assembly line, and the internet. These have all led to incredible economic growth and have created and revolutionized entire industries which in themselves allowed the tapping of endless market potential. It is the contention of the energy sector that hydraulic fracturing will soon enough be added to that list. However, while it is in our nature to cultivate a higher standard of living we have to do it in a different, sustainable way. The issue of global warming does not collide with the agenda of energy independence or the viability of hydraulic fracturing. In fact, it is the complete opposite. While we are a far time away from having completely sustainable energy sources, and hydraulic fracturing is certainly not completely clean, it is cleaner than traditional methods nonetheless. It is also the contention of energy experts and leading economists that hydraulic fracturing plays a key role in the transition from traditional fossil fuels to green energy. The argument about pollution of drinking water seems to be made frequently by the opposition, but frankly it is just not true. Such criticisms are pure neglect of factual scientific evidence. Throughout the past 20 years scientists have been investigating this, there has not been one case where this has been proven to be true. “The US Ground Water Protection Council stated they have not seen a single instance of contamination of water by fracking fluid.” (Breitling Energy 4)Water wells were contaminated because of drillers ignoring state regulations and doing the procedure improperly. It can also occur due to misconstruction of wells and negligence. This can be effectively seen in almost every industry and there are no accounts that the practice of fracking itself is what is leading to well contamination as various studies from the EPA confirm. There is much more confusion about the topic at hand mostly due to countless myths and false statistical analysis from the opposition that clouds the issue. For one, a common myth is that “hydraulic fracking is hardly regulated at all and transnational companies are allowed to do anything they pleased, and access to doing things that completely neglect the environment that many other energy companies do not have.” (Sierra Club) This cannot be further from the truth. Hydraulic fracking is one of the most regulated energy practices in the United States. “Operators need approved permits related to design, location, spacing, operation, and abandonment. Environmental permits are required for water management and disposal. They have to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Under Ground Injection Control regulations.” (Energy in Depth) Hydraulic fracking is “a type of well stimulation in which hydraulically pressurized liquid is pumped into the ground to break up shale rocks and retrieve natural gas, petroleum, and brine” (Energy Resources Program). Not only is this an artificial structure but it is widely reported to occur naturally. It is within this fundamental understanding of the process that environmental issues are quelled dramatically while allowing for a much more efficient allocation of resources by maximizing output while minimizing pollution in a process that serious technological advancement has been allowing us to do, and pragmatic capitalism has been incentivizing us to do since its inception. The more engineers learn and develop new methods of extracting natural gas, the more we can continue to do this while respecting our environment and curving our carbon emissions. Hydraulic fracturing has allowed us to reach natural gas...
Cited: Morris, Charles R. Comeback: America’s New Economic Boom. New York: Public Affairs, 2013.
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