Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What da frack?

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking” is the process where sand, chemicals and millions of gallons of clean water are injected at high pressure into the earth to fracture rock releasing oil or methane gas deposits. The water is then extracted and put into open lined pits or holding tanks. From there the water is either allowed to evaporate or taken to be refined.

Is it safe? Well you tell me. A New York Times article states that fracking got a “clean bill of health” in a study done by scientists at Duke University. But a press release that accompanied the study said that fracking changes the water in wells.

A whole array of chemicals can be used in fracking, some of which are toxic. These chemicals can make it into aquifers and personal wells because a significant portion of the water used to frack cannot be removed. Also poor well construction during drilling allows methane gas to escape and it is leaking into the drinking water of local residents. There have been instances of this in several states. The most famous in Dimmock, Pennsylvania where resident’s drinking water could catch on fire due to the high amounts of methane gas in it.

For an extensive article check out: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fracking

If this is not enough for you, fracking is now is being considered the source for an increase in the number of minor earthquakes in vicinities where the drilling is being done. In northwest England, Cuadrilla Resources has stopped hydraulic fracturing while it studies data from the quakes on May 30, 2011 and consults with experts.

According to a state commission in Arkansas, two natural gas exploration companies agreed to extend the shutdowns of two injection wells as researchers continue to study whether the operations are linked to a recent increase in earthquake activity. Shane Khoury, deputy director and general counsel for the commission, said preliminary studies showed evidence potentially linking injection activities with more than 1,000 mostly minor quakes in the region during the past six months.

I know we need energy, there's no way around it but oil, gas, coal and uranium will eventually run out. I was a teenager when the first Earth Day was celebrated and at that time the idea of renewable energy sources was gaining momentum. Somewhere along the line it petered out. If the government and oil companies had really put the effort in over these past 40+ years to research and implement those and other ideas we would probably have that renewable source and not be doing business the same old way which can destroy the environment and hurt the people who live near the sites.

Do you think we can ever obtain renewable energy? Have you or a family member been affected by fracking?