By: Rachel Heinzinger
While the process of hydraulic fracturing has been in use for over a century, many question its importance in light of contemporary environmental issues. One could argue that hydraulic fracturing has not only contributed to environmental hazards, but it has raised concerns for those living in fracturing areas.
According to TheDangersofFracking.com, “Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside.” It is clear that while the corporation’s efforts are to release natural gases in order for a greater increase in capital, it has also allowed for the toxic gases to be emitted into water supplies.
When considering why fracking is advertised as a positive method of recovering gas, one can consider the influx of jobs created by the fracking industry. Daniel Yergin, vice chair of global consulting firm HIS states, “Today, the industry supports 1.7m jobs – a considerable accomplishment given the relative newness of the technology. That number could rise to 3 million by 2020.”
A positive of fracking is of course the creation of jobs during an economic crisis, however the negative hazards of fracking are also prominent in the arguments. The most evident hazard of fracking is the toxics released into the drinking water. This process occurs when the pipes used to gather the natural gases crack due to high pressures deep in the earth. When the pipes crack, natural gas flows through these cracks and into the water supply.
Another topic that is heavily advertised about fracturing is the benefits of natural gas and oil. “It’s a technological innovation, which means that the recoveries and your ability to predict cost and quantities of energy is much more accurate, much more predictable,” said experienced geologist and Colorado governor John Hickenlooper.
Supporters of fracking include conglomerate General Motors and it’s likely that support will continue far into the future. However, it is necessary to consider the correlations between fracking and diseases such as Cancer and other diseases caused by the mining of natural gases. Addressing this issue begins first with raising awareness of what fracking is. Only then can we truly begin to discuss the potential impacts it can have on our society.