Proponents of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) highlight the economic benefits that can be reaped by extracting natural gas from shale rock. They point to the energy crisis that America faces, asserting that we must utilize every resource possible to attain energy independence. To any who hold this belief, I ask: is energy independence worth the tremendous cost to public health and the environment? In my opinion, these costs far outweigh any economic benefit.
Fracking is almost unimaginably wasteful. Four hundred tanker trucks are required to carry supplies to each fracking site, and one to eight million gallons of water are wasted completing each fracking job. 780 million people have no access to clean drinking water, and we are wasting millions of gallons on something so comparatively insignificant. Fracking also requires 600 chemicals, including known carcinogens and toxins.
These statistics may appear harrowing, but they become even more staggering when you realize that America has 500,000 active gas wells. These wells combined waste 72 trillion gallons of water and 360 billion gallons of chemicals. These chemicals have an acute effect upon the nearby environment and water sources; methane concentrations are sixteen times higher in drinking-wells near fracturing sites.
Effect of fracking upon clean water
Public health is also seriously impacted by fracking. Over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination have been reported in areas near fracking facilities. Sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage have also been attributed to the ingestion of contaminated water.
The waste fluid from fracking stations is left to evaporate, releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere, which contributed to contaminated air, acid rain, and ground level ozone.
Another disconcerting reason why America should think twice about fracking is because recent research has found that several earthquakes were likely man-made. This study found that oil and natural gas drilling have likely caused several earthquakes in the Rockies and Alabama.
The environmental tip of the week is related to this blog’s topic, and should only take a few seconds of your time. If you agree that we need to stop fracking, contact your local representative and ask him/her to support the FRAC Act by clicking this.