End Fracking Now

frackingFracking has been around since the 1940’s, however companies have only been able to utilize shale since the 1990’s. Prior to this, natural gas was extracted from  layers of limestone and sandstone which required less drilling. In recent years, fracking has been linked to many earthquakes. In fact, in 2011 alone, eleven earthquakes occurred in the state of Ohio just months after a company was permitted to begin fracking in the area. Fracking is putting the residents of nearby cities in danger from the potential damage that can be produced by not only earthquakes, but also the contamination of tap water caused by natural gas leaks.  

On March 10, 2014, two earthquakes shook the state of Ohio. Many believe that a nearby fracking site was to blame. Scientists have been able to look further into the process of fracking and came to a conclusion that the disposal of by-products via injection wells may be the cause of recent earthquakes rather than the act of fracking itself. As a result, the nearby fracking site was closed until further analysis regarding the quakes could be evaluated. It is safe to assume that new fracking techniques which have been practiced in recent years are responsible for the increase of earthquakes in the Ohio area. It has been occurring since 2011, and yet nothing has been done to permanently ban the use of fracking.

Fracking is the process of obtaining natural gas through vertically drilling into the ground via hydraulic machinery. Once a layer of shale has been reached, machines switch directions and drill horizontally. Upon completion, fluids are pumped into an injection well which triggers the fracturing of rock. This results in the release of natural gas which is then collected.

The by-products of Fracking, also known as brine, is not always disposed of in injection wells at the site in which it was utilized due to the geological layout of the area. It is common for companies to export brine to other states which have empty injection wells clear of fault lines that are ready to be filled. Injection wells are created by drilling deep into the ground and encasing the hole with cement to make it a solid encasement. In the instance of Ohio, brine from a fracking site in Pennsylvania was often transported to an injection well named Northstar No. 1. As stated earlier, the problem with fracking is the injection wells. Many companies drill these wells and disrupt fault lines which can be virtually undetectable. At one point, Ohio was known to have at least 177 injection wells at one point which made it one of the more popular sites to export brine.

The reason why fracking is ever so popular in the United States is because of its tremendous benefits. Fracking allows the United States to locally extract oil and gas which cuts down the costs of gas prices. It also provides a sense of security in case the U.S. is cut off from its sources of imported oil and gas. In fact, Pennsylvania has a large amount of Marcellus Shale which is estimated to be able to power all homes in the United States for around fifty years. Shale is the primary target of fracking and it serves as a more efficient alternative when generating electricity. Researchers believe that Carbon Dioxide emissions could be cut in half when generating electricity from natural gas collected from fracking in comparison to coal.

There are many who disregard the notion that fracking can cause earthquakes. Some say that fracking doesn’t generate earthquakes that can be felt on the earth’s surface. Instead, there are micro-seismic tremors that can’t be felt. Since these micro-seismic tremors do no damage, advocates for fracking believe that companies shouldn’t be to blame in the scenario of an earthquake.

However, scientists have done extensive research and have confirmed that fracking can indeed cause earthquakes that can be felt on the surface. When injection wells are constructed, there is no way to consistently confirm that the area being drilled is free of fault lines. Sometimes there are some fault lines that have not been mapped and this is where the problems arise. Even if an injection well is clear of a fault, the cement encasement could crack by a shift of the earth’s tectonic plates which could disrupt a fault line.

Even if fracking does not cause a significant earthquake consistently, the fact remains that it does have an impact on the geology of the earth. There is no way to see into the future and the long term effects that fracking could have on the planet.

Although it does give the United States a sense of security, fracking just does not seem worth the risk when there are other more efficient alternatives available for use. Advanced technology in solar energy and wind turbines are a much safer and self-sustaining method of obtaining energy.

Fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource and it takes a toll the earth when extracted. Why not use alternatives that will never run out? Why not use alternatives that won’t put people in risk of losing their lives or their property? If the country is in desperate need of a source of energy in a restricted amount of time then fracking could be an option. However, it seems more logical that it serve as a backup plan rather than a primary option. Just as an addict continues to do drugs even though it destroys the human body, companies continue to frack despite the current and potential damage that it is causing to the earth. SAY NO TO FRACK.

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One Comment to “End Fracking Now”

  1. What is alarming is the fact that these methods of extracting natural gas (or even coal for that matter) remain the most common, regardless of severe health hazards and as you mention, environmental changes. Fracking has long been problematic, particularly with its possibility of polluting nearby water sources to the point where tap water will literally catch fire. The recent shale gas boom isn’t helping the situation either. While natural gas is believed to reduce emissions, it is probably not the most efficient approach to lowering the great amounts of carbon dioxide being released into our atmosphere. Surely, there are cleaner ways to extract resources to generate electricity (namely solar, wind, waves, etc.). These types of energies are abundant and require less from what i’ve read. Factors to consider is the sheer size of these fracking sites and what is required — large amounts of water on the scale of one to four million gallons is needed for hydraulic fracturing. Personally, I think this is a waste of our water resources considering a good chunk of the world’s population is still without clean water.

    Especially if fracking is to blame for these earthquakes, no energy source is worth risking man-made tremors. Our objective is to put an end to Earth’s worsening conditions, not add onto it.

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