Go “Frack” Yourself!
According to the website Dangers of Fracking, hydraulic fracturing is “the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside.” And at the moment, there are more than 500,000 active natural gas wells in the United States.
Unfortunately, my home state of North Carolina is looking to add more wells to the mix, thanks primarily to Republicans who hope to remove a state moratorium preventing hydraulic fracturing. And on Wednesday, preliminary approval for fracking passed with a House vote of 63-52, which means permits for natural gas removal could begin being issued as early as next year. Oh joy!
To support their efforts, proponents of hydraulic fracturing focus primarily on two perceived benefits of this controversial practice. The first is obviously more abundant fuel, since natural gas pockets are everywhere. And the second benefit—which is equally obvious—is a boost to the local economies of any towns, cities or counties brave enough to incorporate fracking into their energy plans.
Of course, when you examine the potential dangers of fracking, it hardly seems worth the trouble. Consider the following statistics, which again come from the website Dangers of Fracking:
- Each gas well requires 400 tanker trucks to carry water and supplies to and from the sites.
- It takes 1-8 million gallons of water to complete each fracturing job.
- The water used in fracking is mixed with sand and chemicals to create fracking fluid—and approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used during each fracturing.
- Fracking fluid is created with up to 600 chemicals, including toxins and carcinogens like lead, mercury, uranium, methanol, hydrochloric acid, radium and even formaldehyde. This fluid is pressure injected into the ground through a pipeline—usually down 10,000 feet or more—where it cracks shale rock and creates fissures where natural gas flows into the well.
- During the fracking process, methane gas and toxic chemicals leak out from the system and can contaminate ground water. In fact, the concentrations of methane in drinking-water wells near fracking sites are 17 times higher than in normal wells.
- Only 30-50% of the fracturing fluid is recovered, while the rest remains in the ground… and it is not biodegradable, either.
- The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate and releases harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, which can contaminate the air, create ground-level ozone and even cause acid rain.
- To date, there have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination near gas drilling areas, as well as cases of respiratory, sensory and neurological damage due to the ingestion of contaminated water.
Sorry, but I’d rather find other ways to provide clean energy—ways that won’t destroy the environment or kill people. Unfortunately, oil companies and other fossil fuel peddlers disagree because ultimately, moving to alternative energies reduces their profits—and we certainly can’t have that, can we?
It’s all pretty sad if you consider that America could run completely on alternative energies and eliminate its reliance on fossil fuels altogether. Combining things like wind, solar, wave, tidal and even geothermal power could make oil and natural gas little more than memories, while also saving an environment that appears to be deteriorating at a much more rapid pace. Of course, all you hear is how expensive it is to fund renewable energy systems, and that’s exactly what lawmakers want you to believe. If we feel we can’t afford them, then we’re far less likely to disturb the status quo or rock the proverbial fossil fuel boat, after all.
Too bad this is a huge, stinky load of horse shit.
The truth is that if we all worked together—and put financial concerns aside—we could utilize clean, renewable energy across our great nation and end up saving money, lives and the environment in the process. We could also reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, which in turn would make military operations like those that occurred in Iraq and Kuwait unnecessary. And we all know why America fought so hard to remove Saddam Hussein from power: to protect its oil!
Sadly, money talks and big business opposes anything that might take cash from their coffers, so alternative energies—some of which have been available for decades—remain just that: alternative. And though I remain optimistic that America will eventually “see the light” and start utilizing things like solar and wind power more frequently, I fear nothing will change as long as we allow corporations and politicians to run our country.
In other words, the time for an energy revolution has come, people. So when supporters of hydraulic fracturing come calling, do us all a favor and tell them to “go frack themselves.” The future is now and if there is any “energy hope” left for humanity, it won’t come from fossil fuels and natural gas; it will come from renewable energy.
Too bad lawmakers in North Carolina are too blind, greedy and self-serving to see that. Crazy bastards…
Posted on May 30, 2014, in Perspectives and tagged clean energy, commentary, current-events, environment, fracking, government, hydraulic fracturing, news, perspectives, science. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.