53 thoughts on “Honors World Regional Geography 2017 – Blog #6

  1. This new technological breakthrough has sparked a prominent surge in the United States’ economy, specifically in the hazardous but lucrative resources known as oil and gas. As new oil deposits and gas banks are found, the U.S has hastily squared off land to be the host of their new contraptions, ready to be sucked dry. A new technique called Hydraulic Fracturing, or better known as “Fracking”, uses the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks and boreholes to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas. This method involves a highly toxic amount of chemicals in the water to further the erosion of lower bedrock, and in turn, can have several negative effects on the earth’s geology and pure water lines that are used as drinkable water for society above ground. The main question is the comparison of its benefits for the economy versus the setbacks that harm the community. First and foremost, contrary to popular belief, fracking has reduced potent gas emissions dramatically. The burning of coal was at the forefront of the energy department for the U.S which raised large emissions of toxic gases endangering the well-being of the public. Now that fracking has been introduced and started to share more of an influence in producing energy for America there have been significant decreases in these gases. A con against this, however, is that these discoveries are only merely relative and the new method is still not fully understood. Dangers to the ozone layer, for instance, persist as scientists look deeper into the effects of fracking. Fracking as of now only acts as a slowing buffer of air pollution rather than a more wholesome alternative like solar or wind energy. Further dangers prove harmful to suburban communities as studies have shown that the toxic flows of these chemicals can seep into water systems above them through the bedrock and contaminate the pure drinking sources, making the water that flows from the taps in homes flammable, potent, and horrifically hazardous. While the methods are still being perfected there have been blowouts and failures of equipment, not to mention these rigs are much closer to inhabited areas of land, unlike oil rigs. This as well poses a threat to the peace and safety of suburbia. It is far from a sustainable solution since the infrastructure and permanence of the business is still in question as several homeowners are near these facilities and receiving no substantial benefits from their profits. Sheer greed operates these temporary and hasty solutions to extracting natural resources. On the surface these rigs seem more efficient and less detrimental to the environment, however, they still pose threats to the infrastructure of communities, water integrity, and overall the security of the industry as well. Smaller wells like these become largely abandoned along spots of land but must be maintained and watched over which in turn depletes plenty of resources and capital to keep the process alive. This proves inefficient economically and dangerous to the surrounding citizens. When you analyze the pros and cons of fracking it is quite difficult to gain an objective and definite answer. The pro-frackers make an argument expressing the very little effect these processes have on seismic activity, water hazards, and geology, saying that the effects are minimal and easily contained, while the con-frackers respond that we know very little of this new process and quote initial studies that have proved that there are in fact consequences that were not taken note of when initiating the drills. From my perspective this new method seems to only act as a slightly less perilous method of extracting natural resources. There are still far too many correlations to the harmful effects on society, the earth and the economy to call this a permanent solution. Fracking should only act as a bridge to a more stable and safe energy-efficient planet. However, this bridge can be hard to trust as the means behind the extractions of the oils seem to be motivated by greed and desire for acquiring more profits. Regardless if it, in fact, does increase the United States’ economical stature we must ask if this is a sacrifice we are willing to take when suburban homes and citizens are being affected by this process.

    Source to help learn more information on the topic

    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-fracking-5-key-issues/

  2. Everybody loves low gas prices. With the global economy the way it is today and especially with America relying on imported goods it was a relief to see that gas prices are no longer anywhere near $4.00 a gallon. This is because the Unites States has decided to expand their production of oil and natural gas within its borders so that the country no longer has to rely on unstable middle eastern countries and can now take some control over gas prices. Now, that’s not to say that we aren’t importing a lot of oil from foreign countries still, but it is a substantially less amount than what it used to be. America is now able to drill for its own oil and natural gas due to many breakthroughs in technology in the industry, the largest being a new extraction system called fracking.
    Fracking is a very simple concept. You drill a hole, and then inject liquid, which is usually mostly water and sand with a few other chemicals, into a shale rock at a very high pressure so that you can extract oil that would otherwise be unattainable. Traditional drilling techniques involve finding a large pool of oil then simply drilling a hole and pumping it out from the ground. This was useless in the United States mainly because we didn’t have access to any large pools of oil and therefore had to rely on foreign countries for oil and natural gas. America does have access however to very large shale rock formations that contain a large amount of oil and natural gas, and the process of fracking allows us to obtain those resources from these formations quite efficiently. This also introduces more jobs to United States citizens.
    The pros of fracking are quite simple. Fracking gives America access to cheaper oil and natural gas so that we can be more economically dependent and not let a foreign country control our gas prices. Theres also less shipment of oil and natural gas across the world, which can be very dangerous.
    The cons are a little more complicated. To start, fracking is a relatively new process and we have absolutely no clue what the long term effects might be on the environment. Some argue that the drilling takes place thousands of feet below us but there is also a substantial amount of the process that is still above ground. There have also been theories that the process of fracking has begun to severely damage the geological state of some areas, causing earthquakes. While this correlation hasn’t been explicitly proven, it does have evidence of happening in some areas that are begging to see increased minor earthquakes after fracking has begun to take place. Then with the whole idea of injecting a liquid into our ground brings up the issue of contaminated drinking water. A popular documentary on the possible harms of fracking titled,”Gaslands,” came out in 2010 which included the viral video that showed a woman turning on her faucet and being able to light it on fire. The documentary blames this on the newly constructed fracking plant nearby, but it is also worth noting that many parts of this documentary were proven to be staged and this video very well could have been staged as well. Nevertheless, this gave the public a very scary picture about what they might be drinking and if it is safe for them and their kids.
    The biggest problem with fracking though that cannot be debated is the massive amounts of water it takes to complete the process. It takes over 8 million gallons of water just to complete one fracking job. With access to fresh water becoming a problem not only in America but across the globe, we have to begin to think about if it is worth using all of this water just to obtain oil and natural gas.

    https://greengarageblog.org/list-of-top-9-pros-and-cons-of-fracking
    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-fracking-5-key-issues/

  3. Fracking, a highly controversial topic in the United States, has been on the rise for years due to what it has to offer and what all it produces. One questions stands, though – is it worth all of its drawbacks?

    Fracking, a type of drilling, is a moniker for the process of hydraulic fracturing, which is essentially the process that takes place wherever this gas mining is currently being implemented. Fracking is a drilling process where a drill is driven down about a mile into the ground and is then either turned sideways or kept in a vertical position and drilled thousands of feet further. Following this, fracturing fluids, composed of greater than 99% water and sand and less than 1% of “fracking fluids” (many different chemicals that make the fracking process more efficient overall) are pumped at very high pressures into the shale rock underneath to create fractures in the rocks, which allows the natural gases and oils to seep out of the rock and up the well, into the possession of the humans above. This process, while having many different advantages, is still being debated by citizens all around the United States and beyond due to the many hazards the process presents and the harm it could potentially cause.

    The idea of fracking from an economic standpoint seems to be very positive, and for many valid reasons. Fracking is an alternative source of fuel for the United States, which has multiple benefits within itself. For one, many local jurisdictions within the states would be able to become less and less dependent on foreign sources of fuel and begin to be able to provide portions of that fuel for themselves. Also, with providing for themselves, if they wished, they could have the economic opportunity of exporting their fracking production elsewhere for profit. The process of fracking also provides the U.S. with many more employment opportunities (currently employs 1.7 million citizens, projected to employ 3.5 million people by 2035). Seeing as job availability and job production is always a topic discussion within governments across the nation (including the largest one we have), it would seem that what fracking provides would be too good to pass up. Fracking is also providing an alternative to traditional nonrenewable energy resources while renewable energy plans are in the process of being devised and implemented, and this helps take the pressure off of purchasing the resources from out of the country and allows the United States to become more independent with energy resources while it pushes toward renewable energy.

    However, despite how beneficial fracking seems to be, people are constantly up in arms about the environmental impacts that fracking may bring with it. For one, there is reason to believe that fracking has an impact on the cleanliness of the drinking water that surrounds the drilling site. The fractures in the rock are claimed to leak into the water sources adjacent to the operation area, and with the chemicals that the fracking fluid contains, this could prove to be fatal news should someone drink water from their own faucet at home that contains these chemicals. Another well-known topic under involving fracking is that fracking has been proven on multiple occasions to cause earthquakes, and with this proof and the uncertainty of the science of fracking due to the relative newness of the technology, people who oppose fracking are heavily suggesting that people shouldn’t dive head first into an area that we have so little knowledge about, and with the little knowledge that we do have, it has already shown to be harmful. Fracking also causes concern for areas surrounding drilling sites not only due to the potential for polluted drinking water, but for other reasons, such as the massive use of water that the operations require which has the potential to heavily impact local water sources, the risks it could have for air quality, and the release of methane that wells have been proven to leak into the atmosphere.

    Many people believe fracking is worth the benefits, but many people are reluctant to take the risk and subsequently face the consequences if it is shown in the future to be as harmful as once presumed.

    https://greengarageblog.org/list-of-top-9-pros-and-cons-of-fracking
    https://www.energyindepth.org/just-the-facts/
    https://www.globalenergyinstitute.org/us-chamber’s-fracking-job-boom-behind-numbers
    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-fracking-5-key-issues/

  4. Fracking has its obvious geopolitical and economic advantages. In the past, OPEC nations have mandated oil prices further influencing inflation and the entire US economy. Domestic oil extraction allows the United States to increasingly control price changes as well as offset trade deficits. In addition, fracking requires workers and laborers from all different fields and further increases the U.S. labor force. The political power achieved by having oil is one of, if not the most, important international bargaining chips. The ability to decrease reliance on Middle Eastern countries, even if by a small measure, is important for the future (and present) of geopolitical negotiations. Fracking also displaces the use of coal which can improve health in that respect. However, fracking is still relatively new and therefore the health benefits/dangers related are still unknown. Regardless of the economic and political pros, fracking poses huge problems for the environment. Injecting liquid at high pressures into the earth obviously shakes up the underground rock layers and can cause earthquakes. Correspondingly, this process requires an incomprehensible amount of water, which not only creates obvious environmental concerns but geopolitical ones as well. Water scarcity is an emerging issue across the world, and some experts theorize that the next world war will be fought over water rather than oil. Lack of water affects health, hunger, quality of life, poverty, and the population and displacement of peoples. Not only does it deplete the quantity of water, it decreases the quality of water due to the continued accounts of contamination. While not exact representations of the effects of fracking, you can see effects of water contamination in contexts like Flint, Michigan, and the true story of Erin Brockovich. So, while fracking may increase political and economic power regarding oil issues, it creates other economic and political issues as well. Conclusively, fracking could be a useful political tool if tensions escalate in the Middle East. However, I don’t think this is a permanent solution to the United States’ continuous quest for oil. Hopefully, fracking is a short-lived experiment that will soon be replaced by a more progressive and efficient energy strategy source such as wind or solar power.

    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-fracking-5-key-issues/

  5. In recent years, hydraulic fracturing of shale stone to extract natural gas and crude oil has become an effective form of resource production in the United States. The process, commonly referred to as “fracking”, is believed to have the potential to change America into the top oil and gas producer in the world. This goal, however, does not come without consequences. Fracking has been found to have adverse effects on the environment and in some cases, the communities around it. Analyzing the variety of different effects of this newfound drilling process will help to plan for the future of resource usage and extraction in the United States.
    Some would argue that in this day and age, oil and gas rule the world. The control over these energy resources can propel a country into economic prosperity, or break it down, thus, it is important that global superpowers such as the United States have a steady flow of oil and gas. As observed during the Arab oil embargo on the west in the 70s, a constant supply cannot always be guaranteed, which leads to the pursuit of oil independence. With the American fracking boom occurring over the past 20 years, oil and gas production has spiked while importation has fallen. Oil and gas independence will help strengthen the national economy, creating jobs and lowering gas prices. The effectiveness of shale stone fracking has lead to a more abundant amount of natural gas, allowing for a shift to this cleaner burning resource for energy production rather than oil. American natural gas growth has encouraged foreign investment in US energy as well, which provides a valuable resource for export. These effects of fracking have had a positive impact on the US economy and people, however there are many drawbacks to this resource extraction method.
    The largest and most convincing argument against fracking is one of environmental protection. The hydraulic fracturing process requires millions of gallons of water and toxic chemicals to complete, which has been causing concern to environmental groups about where these components end up. Fracking has increased the oil companies usage of water which consequently takes water away from local farms. When a farmer irrigates his crops, the water will eventually be returned to the local hydrologic cycle, but when it is used for fracking, the water will more than likely be lost forever as a result of the chemicals introduced to it. Some say this newfound resource extraction method is not worth the disruption it will cause to agriculture in the United States. Fracking will not only disrupt agriculture because of its water usage; the chemicals mixed in with water at drilling sites are believed to seep into local ecosystems, poisoning plants and animals alike. The containment of these wastes is under control of state laws, which as a result of the recent popularization of fracking, are extremely weak. This argument shows that hydraulic fracturing not only affects our economy but also the world around us.
    With the world reaching a new age of industrialization and resource use, it is important to plan for its future environmental impact and adapt the next generation of non-renewable resource extraction methods accordingly. There is a balance that must be reached between economic prosperity and detrimental impact on people and the environment. Lessons learned from things such as hydraulic fracturing today will help people grow in the proper way in the future.

    Citations-
    ”Pros” paragraph http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/11/congratulations-america-youre-almost-energyindependent-now-what-098985
    “Cons” paragraph
    https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/hydrofracking_w.html
    http://www.rafiusa.org/docs/fraclkingandagbrochure.pdf

  6. Hope, Alaska is a tiny remnant of the Gold Rush with about 150 residents and no public trash service. Just off Turnagain Arm, it is sparsely populated with log cabins and RV’s. Aside from a car or two in the main historic district, one might think they have fallen back in time, with the exception of one unique building: the local store.
    It was presumably an old log cabin, but the front is entirely covered with papers, so from the porch, you would never know. The papers are an eclectic range–John Muir poems, local prose, anti-Fox News stickers, a dozen or so reports on local bear sightings and attacks. But one thing seems to appear the most: anti-fracking articles.
    Fracking first showed up in the 40’s. It is a method of extracting natural gas and/or oil by drilling down and breaking apart shale (or similar) rocks and injecting liquid to force the gas or oil out. It has skyrocketed American oil production. In Pennsylvania, fracking of the Marcellus shale has the potential to fuel all American homes for 50 years. So why does the tiny town of Hope, Alaska hate it so much?
    For one, they are not alone. The general consensus across the environmental advocacy community is that fracking is bad. It can release methane into the air, a greenhouse gas that is contributing to climate change, and the chemicals and detergents used to break up shale while fracking can end up in groundwater sources.
    Shifting from one “A” state to another, let us take a look at Arkansas. The Fayetteville shale is home to several fracking sites. According to Earthjustice, 5,000 wells were drilled in the Fayetteville area from 2005-2012. Studies from the state have linked fracking to increased seismic activity in the region, largely thanks to improper wastewater disposal by frackers. The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission has since adopted regulations for new wells. The problems Arkansas has experienced with fracking are not unique. Oklahoma has similar seismic issues.
    Additionally, water pollution is linked to fracking, but it can be difficult to trace because fracking companies do not always name the chemicals they use. Plus, millions of gallons of water are used in fracking, which poses issues in already water-scarce areas.
    Those in favor of fracking argue that it’s a feasible form of “clean” energy, one that can be mass produced on relatively small plots of land. Natural gas has half the carbon content of coal, so while gas is a fossil fuel, it is a safer one in that regard. Others in the industry will argue that more “locally” produced gas and oil will help solidify the American oil market, and that any opposition so far is just blind ecocentric hippie hatred of fossil fuels. Really, it comes down to the money. Developers will argue that that disasters are few and insurable, that economic benefits outweigh the “little and infrequent” risks.
    Back to Alaska. What does the rest of the state think of fracking?
    The North Slope, referred to most frequently as “the Slope,” is a massive workfield in the northernmost tip of the state, where towns are named terrifying things like “Deadhorse.” It is home to BP and over 3,000 workers, and potentially to a new fracking project.
    Paul Basinski, a geologist and fracking entrepreneur, claims that fracking could unlock 3.6 billion barrels of oil on the Slope. Alaska’s oil production has seen a decrease, directly turning the Alaskan economy downward. Fracking the Slope could solve their problems.
    Or, as the citizens of Hope would likely agree, it could further the melting of their glaciers and contaminate the once-pristine Arctic waters. The state is undecided, as are many others in the nation. Under the current administration, we are likely to see less environmental regulations on the fossil fuel industry, so for better or worse, the effects of fracking will soon be at our doorsteps.

    http://www.hopealaska.info/
    https://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2015/04/25/arkansas-sets-example-in-responding-to-earthquake-threats-from-tracking
    https://earthjustice.org/features/arkansas-and-fracking
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2017/06/05/another-fracking-time-bomb-lurks-beneath-america/#60ff6f493ee9
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-09/a-father-of-fracking-seeks-to-emulate-u-s-shale-boom-in-alaska

  7. Today, most people have at least heard of fracking. Though it has been used commercially for more than sixty-five years, fracking has only recently been brought to the public’s attention as a heated political, environmental, and economic topic. However, few truly understand what fracking is. Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is a process to recover oil and gas from shale rock by drilling into the earth and creating fractures by pumping a fluid mixture at high pressure into a target rock formation. Because it is associated with a variety of pros and cons, this process has become a hotly debated subject of contention.

    Most who oppose the practice of fracking are concerned about its environmental impact. The contamination of ground water is a particularly widespread concern. As mentioned above, the fracking process involves injecting a “mixture” into the earth. This mixture consists of water, sand, and chemicals, and is feared to have detrimental effects on the surrounding environment. However, it should be noted that the EPA has denied a connection fracking and drinking water contamination. Other privately funded studies have both supported and contradicted the EPA’s conclusion.

    Another concern of those who oppose fracking is earthquakes. Fracking has been connected to an increased number of seismic events. While correlation does not necessarily mean causation, it does appear that there is a connection between seismic events and fracking. However, the earthquakes connected to fracking are typically very small. Usually, the tremors are even unnoticeable.
    While the concerns over fracking are primarily environmental, the benefits associated with fracking are largely economic. First off, the expansion of the fracking industry helps to create jobs and bolster the economy. Also, with the United States’ expansion of the fracking industry, America has reduced their dependence on foreign oil which has, in turn, helped to lower gas prices.
    Because of the fracking boom, gas is now the preferred choice for electricity generation instead of coal. This has not only helped to lower energy costs, but it has also served to reduce the massive greenhouse gas emissions associated with burning coal. However, it is worth noting that many will argue that this is not a good enough reason to support fracking because it will just delay the shift toward cleaner, though less reliable, solutions such as solar and wind energy.

    Overall, hydraulic fracturing is a complex process that is the subject of much debate. Those who oppose the process are concerned about the pollution of our groundwater, the creation of earthquakes, and possible unforeseen effects in the future. Supporters of fracking believe that the economic benefits of fracking outweigh the environmental risks. Ultimately, fracking is a complicated subject that requires careful examination and further research.

    Sources:

    https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-shale-oil-and-how-is-it-produced-3306195
    http://www.scientific-alliance.org/scientific-alliance-newsletter/pros-and-cons-fracking
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherskroupa/2014/02/19/fracking-politics/#2666d8b85150
    http://politicsandpolicy.org/article/fracking-economic-boom-or-environmental-danger
    http://www.what-is-fracking.com/

  8. There is always controversy related to brand new technological advances. Especially in our modern-day world where all the conveniences we utilize requires energy from many different sectors. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking for short, can be classified as one of these advances that has many parties discussing differing opinions. Hydraulic fracturing is a process which involves injecting a highly pressurized liquid such as water, combined with different chemical agents and minerals, which cuts into shale deposits. The goal of cutting into these deposits is so that energy intensive gases such as methane is released and transported to the surface for our usage. There are a few key points that have spawned parties for and against the utilization of fracking. The parties that are pro fracking, state that fracking has a significantly positive impact on our energy sector in the U.S. They state that utilizing fracking leads to a cleaner energy footprint as compared to the historical usage of coal as our main source of electricity generation. Parties against fracking state that there is no real correlation between the energy garnered from this process being any better for our pollution than coal. This is because the process itself is not efficient in terms of the energy gained for the pollution produced. Oil prices already being at record lows, there may be a need to refrain from expanding the fracking business outside of already drilled sites. There have also been many studies conducted that prove that though fracking is cleaner than utilizing coal, it is not as clean as alternative energy sources such as natural gas, solar, and wind power, etc. Another such issue that is controversially related to fracking is that it contaminates the nearby drinking water after and during the actual drilling process. Proponents of the process have stated that technological advances have led to fewer sites contaminating the drinking water, and that it is still one of the safest processes that produces energy. They also argue that fracturing takes place at a significantly lower depth than where the aquifers containing drinking waters are located. However, the negative impact that are cited by many is that methane is usually a byproduct contained in the drinking water of nearby inhabitants. In some cases, their water is actually flammable because of the acute concentration of methane. There are also health complications that have been reported by people living in communities near drilling sites. The water that is used is a significantly higher volume than is used by traditional drilling methods for energy. Yet another issue caused by fracking relates to the “unofficial” reports of increased seismic activity around active sites. The highly pressurized liquid used in fracking acts as a lubricant for fault lines that otherwise would have stayed relatively stable under normal conditions. As our reliance on energy increases due to technological advances and other countries advancing their own technological infrastructures, the U.S. will play a pivotal role that others will reference. There are already countries that freely allow fracking, some that allow it with increasingly tighter restrictions and lastly, there are countries that outright ban fracturing. Though in the U.S. there are people on both sides of the argument, the long-term repercussions of this process will be the burden of future generations to come. There have already been many scientific studies done on the harmful effects of hydraulic fracturing. The opposite has also been proposed by the parties that are pro fracking.

    https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/pros-and-cons-of-fracking.php
    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-fracking-5-key-issues/
    https://vittana.org/26-pros-and-cons-of-fracking

  9. Hydrologic fracturing, or “fracking” was discovered during the Civil War in the United states in 1862. However, fracking for commercial use as we know it today did not begin until the 1940s. Floyd Farris of Stanolind Oil and Gas company began to investigate the relationship between oil and gas production and pressurized wells. The first real fracking experiment took place at the Hugoton gas field in Kansas in 1947. Experimental success was not achieved until 1949. As the technique was improved, commercial fracking began to pop up in several different states. President Gerald Ford encouraged fracking and shale oil resources as a way to step back from foreign oil imports.
    Like any innovation of this magnitude and influence, there are both pros and cons to the argument. One such pro is the lessening of the United States’ dependence on coal and the increase in use of natural gas, which produces considerably less fossil fuels and air pollutants than the burning of coal. Fracking causes some greenhouse gas leakage at the fracturing site, but this leak is minute compared to the greenhouse gasses expelled from the burning of coal, which fracking has greatly diminished. If managed properly, fracking also should have limited effect on groundwater. Fracking takes place thousands of feet into the subsurface, and shallow groundwater systems and aquifers theoretically should not be affected by the fracking process. Fracking value per well is continuing to go up as the process becomes increasingly efficient. Fracking drills, though unsightly, are temporary features of the landscape, which is a pro compared to permanent coal or nuclear plants.
    Possibly the most disturbing con to fracking is what we don’t yet know. Commercial fracking is a newly implemented technique to our Earth and we don’t know how it may respond in the long-term. Short-term consequences are already rising in the immediate areas surrounding fracking sites, such as earthquakes, strained local water resources, and beaten-down infrastructure due to drilling equipment and the roads required to transport them. The residents that are close to fracking sites are seldom involved in the decisions that go on there, despite the effect that the drilling has on their towns and homes. Little money is being put back into the communities for mitigation. Cases of contaminated tap water have also risen due to well failures and accidents. Lastly, there is also a concern that cheap natural gas, though it may be better than burning coal, will discourage advancements in renewable energy methods, such as solar and wind energy.
    Fracking now accounts for half of US oil production, and has allowed the US to increase its in-country oil production more than ever before, bringing us close to Russia and Saudi Arabia. However, the cons are real, and the pros are only justifications.

    http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/24/investing/fracking-shale-oil-boom/index.html
    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/The-Real-History-Of-Fracking.html
    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-fracking-5-key-issues/

  10. Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, while constantly being defended for having political and economic advantages has very few, if not any environmental pros. Fracking is a specific drilling technique used to help increase the amount of oil and natural gas as our consumption of fossil fuels has skyrocketed in the last few centuries. Some argue the merits of the process, claiming it had no negative environmental effects and claim it is an important source of clean energy. Others, however, argue that it does, in fact, pollute water, create greenhouse gases, and release extremely harmful, sometimes deadly toxins and chemicals.
    Fracking begins with companies drilling roughly a mile or more down below the surface of the Earth before shifting horizontally and drilling thousands of feet more. From there, a mixture of sand, water, and chemicals is pumped at a pressure high enough to fracture any surrounding rock. Once the rock is fractured, oil and gas reserves can be pumped back to the surface. Along with the gas and oil, ‘flowback’ which is part water and part chemicals, comes back to the surface as well. Then, once the site is exhausted, which typically happens much faster than more conventional ways of drilling, the millions of gallons of flowback gets pumped far, far below the surface of the earth and is sealed.
    In theory, the process is safe. In reality, the technique is anything but. Either due to negligence or nature, the ‘sealed’ fracking fluid that is pumped far below the surface can find its way back up and contaminate water sources. This fluid, which is still a mixture of water, sand, and harmful chemicals can be deadly. The Yale School of Public Health did a study of over 1,000 chemicals commonly used in fracking fluid, where many of the toxins were linked to both reproductive and developmental health issues. While the EPA has studied and reported on the detrimental health effects related to fracking, largely due to contaminated water sources, we live in an era known as ‘The Fracking Boom,’ and over 60 percent of all new oil and gas wells are drilled via fracking.
    Besides the issue of water contamination, the constant disruption to the bedrock due to the high levels of water pressure has resulted in man-made earthquakes. Oklahoma, which sees a large amount of fracking, has had an incredible increase in earthquakes over the past ten years. In 2016 Oklahoma had roughly 639 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or higher, in 2006, only three registered at such a level. It is no coincidence that the rise in fracking and rise in earthquakes occurred rather simultaneously, no matter what advocates of the drilling technique might claim.
    Of course, there are some benefits to the drilling technique but these pros come solely from the economic side of the issue. Fracking allows for a greater supply of gas and oil, resources we still rely heavily on in the 20th century. Because of the greater supply, access to these resources has also become easier as prices have dropped. It is also praised for being a way for the U.S to rely more upon itself for these resources, instead of having to turn to other countries to buy gas and oil. Fracking also claims less of an impact on air pollution than other types of oil extraction, but ultimately, in my opinion, any and all of these benefits are far outweighed by the health and environmental implications.
    While companies argue the economical merit to fracking, homeowners, the EPA, and in some cases local government argue that the health risks involved are too great. For me, with the potential for water contamination, a resource we know is highly insecure, I just can not see why the drilling technique is dismissed as harmful so often.

    Sources:
    https://www.livescience.com/34464-what-is-fracking.html

    https://news.yale.edu/2016/01/06/toxins-found-fracking-fluids-and-wastewater-study-shows
    https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/benefits-and-dangers-of-fracking.php

  11. Oil and natural gas hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has always been controversial. Fracking supporters see fracking as a miracle, boosting the United States economy, despite the environmental and safety issues. Fracking detractors notice the extensive environmental damage and the infringement on personal property that go hand in hand with the fossil fuel industry. Key issues surrounding fracking, including air quality, drinking water quality, and earthquakes, are at the forefront of the debate.
    One of the main issues discussed is the impact of fracking on air quality and human health. Advocates of fracking argue that fracking is actually improving the air quality and saving lives. By shifting our energy reliance from coal to natural gas has reduced the harmful particles in the air produced by burning coal and effectively decreased the numbers of people that experience early deaths due to the coal industry. The increase in the use of natural gas has caused coal use for United States electricity generation to drop significantly. Fracking critics argue that not enough information is yet available to make definitive arguments that fracking reduces harmful particulates in the air. Natural gas is unlikely to completely displace coal in the West the same way it would in the East. As natural gas is not a purely clean, renewable source, its benefits are only relative to the coal industry and can still have adverse effects on the ozone. Detractors argue that fracking simply pauses advancements in more air friendly energy industries, such as wind and solar.
    A major issue enveloping the fracking industry is the negative impact on drinking water. Fracking supporters argue that the possibility of fracking contaminating drinking water supplies is highly unlikely in the first place. In case of issues, contamination is not actually caused by fracking, but by cracks in the casings, according to supporters. They believe it is simply an issue of ensuring that companies take the proper precautions in developing the casings, the steel tubing and surrounding cement, to prevent cracks. Certain toxic chemicals are also disclosed to the necessary authorities in case of leaks. The opposition sites the numerous studies that confirm that hydraulic fracturing can contaminate drinking water. An increase in methane has led to tap water becoming bubbly and flammable and has even caused hazardous well blowouts. United States citizens across the country report foul tap water and fracking companies cannot be trusted to entirely follow federal or state guidelines. Many chemicals continue to remain trade secrets, despite disclosure efforts. That is relatively little enforcement of the companies and that that does exist has little effect.
    An increase in seismic activity as a result of fracking is also a great worry. Fracking companies argue that earthquakes are naturally occurring and that they were extremely minor in the few instances that operations contributed. Operation-induced earthquakes also had practically no impact on citizens and their effects can be alleviated through safeguards. Fracking critics point out that there has been a significant increase in seismic activity since the start of fracking operations, with earthquakes of 3.0 Mw or greater quintupling almost every year. They warn against disrupting the geology of the United States to just discover the consequences later.
    The controversy surrounding fracking stems from those wanting to reap the significant economic benefits and those wanting to protect the local environment.

    Source:
    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-fracking-5-key-issues/

  12. In order to understand the pros and cons of fracking one must first understand its process. Fracking is a method of natural gas and oil extraction from shale deep beneath the Earth’s surface. A mixture of chemicals is injected into the shale at high pressure so that it is broken up and the gas can be released. The gas is then collected and is used for energy around the country. Fracking has recently become very controversial for various reasons.
    One obvious pro to fracking is that it allows for more access to gas and oil. Because of the depths that fracking methods can reach, gas and oil trapped there can now be extracted giving us more of the resource. With more access to gas, the atmosphere experiences less damage because it produces way less CO2 than fossil fuels do when they’re burned. Fracking also makes the US less dependent on foreign countries like those in the middle east where conflict runs high since a lot of natural gas is present in the US’s shale. The US has had a part in wars that have been fought over oil, so being more independent with our energy is critical to maintaining peaceful diplomatic relationships. Globally speaking, natural gas is much more evenly distributed than oil, so fracking could potentially help countries everywhere be more energy independent. Fracking benefits the economy by creating thousands of jobs and potentially lowering the cost of gas and oil due to the fact that it allows for more access to these resources.
    The cons of fracking are considered by many people to greatly outweigh the pros of it. This is mainly due to the environmental issues that fracking causes. Water pollution increases tremendously because the chemicals used in the process can easily end up in reservoirs and be carried to large bodies of water. Fracking also uses large amounts of water which has shown to cause droughts near fracking sites. Using large amounts of water is also an issue due to the water scarcity in some parts of the country which could potentially benefit from the water if it were used for personal use instead of fracking. The wastewater from fracking is injected to the earth and is known to cause earthquakes. This happens when the water lubricates the plates beneath the earth’s surface, allowing them to rub more easily. Add significant pressure to this equation and an earthquake is bound to happen. Fracking companies are not legally obligated to release the mixture of chemicals that they use in the process. This secrecy is dangerous and makes one wonder why they aren’t released. For all anyone knows, the chemicals could be detrimental to the health of people near the sites and could quite possibly be doing more harm to the environment than previously thought.
    Fracking has stirred up environmentalists everywhere and will remain a huge controversy until a safer way to obtain energy is created. Research into renewable energy will hopefully solve this problem eventually. As for now, fracking will continue to take place and the people living near these sites will feel the environmental affects until the administration cracks down on it. Although fracking does benefit the economy, other sources of energy, like solar and wind, could produce the same amount of jobs and do much less damage to the environment.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/09/07/the-connection-between-earthquakes-and-fracking/#3480c30e6d68

    https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/pros-and-cons-of-fracking.php

  13. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is commonly know, is a method of extraction for oil and gas. This process starts with injecting a liquid fluid at high pressures, into subterranean rock formations that allows extraction at the surface level for natural gas and crude oil (Ballotpedia.) The liquid creates a fracture network that makes this extraction possible. The liquid injected, frat fluid, is comprised mostly of water and sand, alongside a small percentage of chemical additives that achieve several different goals.
    State governments have authority in regulating fracking, but oil and gas companies must also comply to many federal laws like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and others. Legislation concerning fracking has been a point of contention for many and will continue to be as The Trump Administration moves forward. Those in favor of fracking argue the industry has created jobs for many, lowered the price of energy, increased tax revenue for local, state, and federal governments, and spurred the growth of the county’s economy. In addition, they state that safety and health risks remain low while the state is faithful to regulate the potential for higher risk. Many, however, disagree, or have more powerful evidence against fracking. Those who oppose fracking argue that the process should be more heavily regulated, we cannot rely solely on the energy industry to protect the environment well. In addition, the effects of fracking are still largely unknown, as problems could easily be brewing under the surface, causing issues that will one day erupt in catastrophe.
    The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) study of 2013 confirmed that fracking brings a huge number of jobs to American workers. From 2007-2012, the oil and natural gas industry experienced an increase of 40%, compared to the private sector at 1%. The EIA asserts that the increase of jobs was especially helpful after the 2007-2009 recession. Many other studies show the economic benefits to fracking, as it brings a number of jobs and revenue to citizens and the government, respectfully.
    On the other hand, human induced earthquakes should be taken into this equation. Building injection wells, like damming rivers or mining, can cause earthquakes as humans are directly altering the earth. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recorded earthquakes of only 2.0-3.0 on the richter scale up to October 2016. The injection of liquid into the earth can cause the faults to slip and create earthquakes. Though the consequences in this aspect have been minimal up to now, it is not unlikely that we will see more seismic activity in the future. In fact, Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Ohio have all put into place seismic monitoring stations and heightened regulation on injection wells in areas of high seismic activity.
    Whatever your political agenda, injecting something foreign into the earth will undoubtedly have consequences. Whether we know these know or will be surprised by them later, we must weigh the value of money over the quality of our earth and resources.

    Sources:
    https://ballotpedia.org/Fracking_in_the_United_States
    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-fracking-5-key-issues/

  14. Fracking in the U.S. has many benefits, but it comes at the cost of the quality of our environment and health. This debate is a hot spot topic in the media, government, and business world. It’s a constant discussion of “how far are we willing to go” and “what amount of environmental degradation are we willing to withstand for lower taxes and gas prices”, which are all that directly impact consumers; however, there is another major issue associated with the fracking industry — national defense.

    By increasing fracking operations and the quest for oil in the U.S., we will obviously have a greater supply of oil. If you think about this in terms of economic theory, more supply leads to lower prices. This means Americans would be paying less at the pump. Expanding this industry would also create more jobs domestically. Since we would no longer be importing oil, there is less of a transfer cost to get oil from the Middle East or Venezuela, our two major partners in the oil industry, so this would also result in lower taxes and prices. However, there are many risks associated with fracking and the environment.

    First, fracking often results in pollution of above ground water sources and the water table. The process of extracting petroleum from the ground requires a lot of water that is full of dangerous chemicals. Water that is used in fracking can seep into the reservoirs, and often does happen in areas where fracking occurs. This leads to an increased spread of toxins in the environment, for which we do not yet know the consequences because companies are not required to disclose which chemicals are being used in the water. Fracking also leads to earthquakes, as we’ve seen in Oklahoma and felt in Fayetteville.

    There will also be less research and efforts to promote renewable, green energy sources such as solar and wind power. Petroleum is still a non-renewable energy source and when it runs out, we will need to have other affordable, yet practical sources of energy. Currently, quite a bit of research is being done to make alternative energy sources more affordable so they will be more widespread. The Department of Energy, along with other private corporations, has been investing in Wind farms off the Gulf Coast of the United States. If more focus is placed on drilling for oil domestically, we will be investing less in these future sources of energy.

    Also, there is the issue of national defense. The Middle East is one of our major trading partners for petroleum products. Relations in that region are already tense, and have previously even been hostile. By reducing trade with Middle Eastern nations, we may be closing our only long-term, civil line of communication with leaders in the region which could cause issues of national security. I believe that continuing to import oil is probably the best decision for our country, even though consumers are forced to pay higher prices. In the long run, it will preserve the quality of our environment, our health, and our relations with often hostile nations.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/texas/articles/2017-07-27/gulf-coast-wind-farms-become-essential-for-texas-wind-energy

    https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/pros-and-cons-of-fracking.php

  15. Fracking has become a very controversial practice and has impacted states across the country. Some argue that it is beneficial for the environment, helps consumers and provides jobs. Others claim that it is harmful to the environment, ruins the economy, and hurts those living in the United States. While there are many sides of the issue, some given more attention than others, fracking has benefited and harmed many lives.
    Fracking has enabled cheaper and more abundant oil and gas, it allows us to reach oil and gas deposits that were previously inaccessible. Many feel the increase in drilling is great for the economy because it provides jobs. The abundance of oil also allows for cheaper oil prices which is helpful to the American consumer. Proponents of fracking claim that environmentalists should love the practice. They say it is good for the environment because it allows us to shift from coal to natural gas and oil, which is better for the planet. Some supporters of fracking believe we would be saving the environment if we invest more in fracking rather than renewable resources because fracking can provide more energy at a lower cost and automatically reduces the use of coal. According to supporters of fracking: it helps the economy, is beneficial to consumers and saves the planet.
    Fracking has harmed states that are now dependent on its success to bring in money.
    Fracking is problematic because it is not dependable, sometimes states will get a large amount of oil and gas and sometimes they will get almost nothing This is a problem that resource extracting economies often face. People also lose their jobs for this very reason, if oil prices have dropped too much oil rigs have to be shut down and workers must be let go. These points are in direct contrast with the claims of fracking supporters. Many economists believe that states that are too dependent on oil and gas need to diversify their economy in order to stay afloat. Another reason fracking is often criticized is that it causes earthquakes. There has been a dramatic increase in earthquakes in areas where fracking is present. Earthquakes are harmful to humans and their property, it is unfair that people have to endure suffering so that oil and gas companies can make a quick buck.
    Ultimately citizens and lawmakers need to decide if the environmental and human costs of fracking are worth the cheap fossil fuels. The government should invest in renewable energy or nuclear energy rather than fossil fuels. While fracking may temporarily provide jobs and help us move away from coal as an energy source, there are plenty of other ways we can accomplish those goals.

    https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brookings-now/2015/03/23/the-economic-benefits-of-fracking/
    https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2016/04/14/busted-state-budgets-feel-fracking-crash/
    https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2016/03/16/rigged-declining-u-s-oil-and-gas-rigs-forecast-job-pain/
    http://www.heritage.org/environment/commentary/fracking-could-save-the-planet
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/drilling-for-earthquakes/

  16. Fracking is the extraction of oil and gas from shale rock, by drilling down below the Earth’s surface, then a high pressure fluid is injected into the rock. There has been discussion among people, whether the United States should allow fracking to extract oil from underground. Most people against fracking use the argument that fracking is harming our environment: the air, water, and even effecting the earth below the surface. Those in favor of this technology argue that fracking is not contributing to all the things that are happening environmentally and countries are now able to produce more natural gases.
    Pro frackers argue, with fracking, the United States will increase their supply of natural gas, which will replace using things like coal for an energy source. In 2008, coal usage consisted of 50% of U.S. electricity, but that number has been decreasing, while natural gas usage has been rising. The increase in natural gas usage, results in less harmful particles being released into the atmosphere. The burning of coal produces way more green house gas emissions, than the burning of natural gas. People who are against fracking argue, that natural gas is not completely clean and pure, the usage of natural gas is not the problem solver to cleaner air. The burning of natural gas is still releasing more green house gas emissions into the atmosphere than wind or solar energy. Research has shown the cheaper price of natural gas encourages user to use more and that methane, a greenhouse gas released from wells, is so powerful that any benefits we see from using natural gas, ultimately don’t matter.
    Another issue being discussed, in regards to fracking, the effect fracking has on water. Numerous studies have been showing that fracking can contaminate drinking/tap water, due to the methane. Anti-fracking supporters also state that one in five chemicals used while fracking are a secret and it is extremely hard to find information about what is being used. They also point out that fracking companies receive numerous violations, because they are not following regulations when it comes to what is being used. Pro Frackers use the argument that it is unlikely that extracting oil and gas 1,000 feet underground are allowing chemicals to reach shallow aquifers to contaminate the water source. They agree that operations that happen semi close to surface level need to be regulated closely. Flammable water, that the anti-fracking people are quick to point out, was a thing 100 years ago in some areas. It is unlikely that the flammable water was a direct result from fracking. They also say that all needed information is available to relevant authorities.
    It is often discussed that fracking will change geology in a negative way, which will lead to earthquakes. People in favor of fracking point out, earthquakes naturally occur and a few times were probably related to fracking operations, but they were small. There are tons of fracking wells drilled all over and hardly any accidents that have led to earthquakes that impacted citizens. Research is showing that the use of safeguards can help mitigate earthquakes. The other side of the argument points out that we are only starting to figure out what fracking is doing to the geology, so it is better to be on the cautious side than to realize the consequences later.

    Sources–
    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-fracking-5-key-issues/

  17. Fracking sucks. Although there are some pros to fracking in the United States, most of them work to benefit the the oil industries, and not to help progress the human experience or the preservation of the natural environment, which is very important.
    Hydraulic fracturing technology, more commonly known as fracking, allows for oil companies to drill into America’s natural reserves of oil and natural gas in shale. In this practice, high pressurized water is mixed with sand and chemicals in order to cut through the shale rock. This newly found industry has revolutionized the American oil industry, but has also had detrimental impacts on the natural environments where fracking occurs. In the United States, fracking currently accounts for more than half of our output of oil, a staggering statistic when compared to the fact that it made up only 2 percent of the United States’ oil output in 2000.
    One of the biggest issues with the practice fracking is the toll it takes on the natural environment, and the communities surrounding fracking sites. One of these tolls is the pollution of ground and well water as a result of natural gas escaping from the fissures in the ground caused by fracking and drilling. Fracking also takes away from the modern focus on sustainable, renewable energy since it allows for the continuation of the large oil giants monopolies on energy, and detracts from the need for better energy methods seen by everyday people. Fracking has also increased the possibility of droughts, as water in areas surrounding is diverted from municipal use into fracking use. Fracking has also impacted the surrounding communities through noise pollution, as fracking is a very long and noisy process, and typically goes on throughout the day and the night. Another risk is that fracking is a relatively new industry, and it is not yet clear the impact jobs in fracking will have on the workers, and how the chemicals will interact with their bodies in the long run. Finally, fracking has increased the number of unknown toxins in the natural environment as fracking companies do not have to disclose what chemicals they are using.
    Although it has all of these bad side effects, fracking can be considered good in some ways. For example, it allows the United States to have more access to oil and natural gas, which makes those more inexpensive and less taxed. Fracking in the United States also allows for our country to be less dependent on OPEC for oil production, which helps to boost our internal economy. Fracking is also better for the environment than coal mining because the burning of natural gases releases less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Finally, the emergence of the fracking industry means that there are more jobs for Americans, which again helps to fuel the United States economy.
    The fracking industry has emerged in recent years as an affordable and innovative way to draw oil and natural gas from American shale reserves. Although in my opinion, the cons of fracking far outweigh the possible good it could do, the fracking industry has become a prominent contributor to the American economy, and has greatly stimulated the job market.

    http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/24/investing/fracking-shale-oil-boom/index.html
    https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/pros-and-cons-of-fracking.php

  18. Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, is an oil mining technique, that allows previously unreachable oil reserves to be accessed, and has helped to create a brand new oil and gas market.
    The process of fracking involves drilling down to a layer of rock that contains oil, and by creating fractures in the rock layer by pumping large amounts of fluid into the rock. By pumping fluids into the rock, there is a buildup in pressure, which results in cracking, which in turn allows oil to be pumped out of the rock.
    Fracking has been an extremely popular subject of debate in recent years, most notably due to its massive benefits, and its environmental risks. Economically, fracking has been a massive success. It has been an integral part in lowering gas prices, and has been a huge part of this country’s plan to become energy independant. Fracking, almost single-handedly saved the state of Texas from the 2008 economic recession. Fracking has not only brought on an easier access to previously untapped oil fields, but it has also produced massive amounts of natural gas. Because of this, consumers have saved billions of dollars a year on their energy bills, while corporations have experienced even greater savings.
    Unfortunately, fracking has not been without its disadvantages, and has come under increased backlash from environmentalists who have concerns about the environmental fallout from fracking. Fracking itself, uses millions of gallons of fresh water, which it then pollutes with fillers, thickeners, and other add ins to help crack through the shale layers. While much of this water is pumped back out, much of it remains underground and has been known to contaminate the water table. On top of that, the water that is pumped out is so polluted that it becomes extremely difficult, and even more expensive to treat and reuse.
    Fracking has also been linked to the massive amounts of siesmic activity that has occurred in the middle of the plates in the United States, most notably in the state of Oklahoma where earthquakes have increased exponentially over the past years, since the introduction of fracking in the region. Many are concerned that even with the stoppage of fracking, that irreversible damage has already been done, and that the region is now a soft spot in the crust and is at a greater risk of becoming tectonically active in the future.
    Over the years, hydraulic fracturing has become both a great economic innovation, and a major environmental issue. And while it remains to be seen just how well the benefits of fracking will, or will not, outweigh the disadvantages, fracking will continue to be a major part of our near future in energy production, at least until the world can survive without a dependency on cheap oil.

    https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brookings-now/2015/03/23/the-economic-benefits-of-fracking/

  19. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is more commonly known, is the process of drilling into shale rock and releasing water, sand, and chemicals at a highly pressurized level in order to extract natural gas. Throughout this process, the rock surrounding the drill is fractured apart, thus why it is nicknamed fracking. This method of extraction has become highly controversial within the United States mainly because of the negative side-effects that many people are beginning to experience.

    Supporters of fracking point to the benefits of natural gas as an alternative to coal. Fracking has allowed the United States to generate electricity with half as much CO2 emissions as coal does, while also driving down gas prices and boosting domestic production of oil. Some of the same products that have helped capture emissions from coal production can also be utilized to reduce emissions of the chemicals released during the fracking process. However, more than 99% of the materials used to create the wells used for fracking are water and sand, and the chemicals that are used can also be found inside the average household, like sodium chloride. Fracking can also leave a positive impact on the housing market, stock market, and economy. Jobs are created not just at the drill sites but also in the towns surrounding the wells. Hotels, restaurants, and other aspects of the hospitality industry all see an increase in demand for jobs within the regions in which fracking takes place. The overall cost of fracking is reduced when the process takes place in rural areas, therefore it is possible for investors in the energy industry stocks to see potential returns. Many households also see lower property taxes as a result of the fracking in their surrounding area, and in some cases there has even been a reduction in property taxes.

    Despite the improvements to the overall economy, those against fracking in the United States believe the environmental risks are far too great for the process to continue. In fact, many of the environmental consequences of fracking are unknown. The side effects of fracking could possibly have an impact on the ozone layer in areas where the process is widely conducted, which could result in numerous health problems. One of the gases that is known to leak from the process of fracking is methane, which is one of the most potent pollutants in our atmosphere that results from human activity. Many researchers suggest that the amount of methane produced in the entirety of the fracking process could negate the benefits from stopping coal production, since the wells are so widespread. Also, fracking is known to contaminate the drinking water with methane in areas surrounding the wells. If methane gets into the main water supply there is potential for the water to become flammable and deadly, and if methane reaches the aquifers and the ground water supply, all forms of life surrounding the well risk being poisoned. However, possibly the most terrifying risk resulting from fracking is the increase in earthquakes. In 2014, an earthquake in Kansas that was a 4.9 on the richter scale was directly linked to a local fracking production, and in 2016, a 5.6 earthquake in Oklahoma was linked to the increased level of fracking in the region as well.

    Sources:
    https://vittana.org/26-pros-and-cons-of-fracking
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-14432401

  20. Fracking in the U.S. has become a big concern as the environmental effects are equal to, if not worse, than the benefits. Fracking is a drilling procedure that allows companies to get to hard to reach oil and gas reservoirs, thus lowering the price of oil and gas produced at home. However, fracking may be affecting faults in the earth’s crust, and if it continues, populations nearby could be put at risk.

    Fracking is accomplished by injecting salt, chemicals, and water at high pressures into the earth, so that resources flow out of the top of the well. By injecting this mixture, the rock layer is eroded, so the oil, shale, and gas is easily reachable. However, this mixture can contain threatening chemicals such as carcinogens. So, by pumping in these toxic chemicals, they can pollute the underground water supply, and towns nearby can be subject to water pollution. Also, this injection increases the pressure underground, and it has to be released at some point. Thus, minor earthquakes often accompany sites of heavy fracking as the faults are lubricated. So, the environment is suffering in the wake of fracking, and these points are often brushed aside as fracking has had tremendous benefits for the U.S. economy.

    It’s no surprise that the Middle East is the leading region for producing oil, and it is produced so cheaply that the rest of the world can hardly keep up. Fracking began in the U.S. in the 1950’s as an alternative and cheap way to extract fossil fuels. Because fracking allows companies to extract harder to reach oil reservoirs, production has increased; so, oil prices have decreased. Therefore, the U.S. has been able to increase oil sales, offer employment, and decrease how much fossil fuels we have to import. However, there is the question of what will happen when these resources run out.

    There is a large environmental push for developing renewable energy sources which will have better, long-lasting impacts than fracking. It’s projected that investing in renewable resources could provide more jobs, and obviously have a better impact on our environment. The problem is that fossil fuels are a quick fix to the energy crisis, and that’s typically what is chosen among corporations. If the U.S. continues fracking, more and more wells will have to be dug in order to keep up the output. So, when these reservoirs dry out, the economy will suffer tremendously. But, there is something that can be done. It’s too ideal for fracking to cease immediately, but if the U.S. slowly invests in renewable energy, energy production can slowly ween off of fracking. So, by the time the non-renewables dry out, the U.S. can more readily transition to renewable energy, and while the economy will still get hit, it won’t be so drastic. However, the problem is investment. If corporations are only focused on the next several years instead of the next several hundred, renewable energy won’t get the investment it deserves. So, while fracking has allowed the U.S. to be competitive in oil prices and it has tremendously helped the economy, the environment is suffering in its wake as renewable energy has to be invested in, but it’s not being done.

    http://www.what-is-fracking.com/why-is-fracking-for-natural-gas-important/

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiT0eae0MTXAhWD24MKHZGYB_UQFggoMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fnews%2Fuk-14432401&usg=AOvVaw1_Igb8Fhi4YEtjr-Nqg8EO

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=11&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiT0eae0MTXAhWD24MKHZGYB_UQFghZMAo&url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FHydraulic_fracturing&usg=AOvVaw213geVF7e9bIOuvea5IWLQ

    http://www.euenergycentre.org/component/content/article/251-fracking-vs-renewables

  21. Fracking is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc., so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas. This has been proven to benefit economies, and has become their main source of income. It has created thousands of jobs in America, and has even become the backbone to many southern and western economies in the United States. However, it has also caused several environmental hazards. Many of which include, water contamination, earthquakes, and habitat destruction. An increasing reliance on natural gas has taken away the reliance on coal. This has provided a decrease in the harmful particles in the air, and a decrease in greenhouse gases. To refute, natural gas is not a renewable resource, it still pollutes the environment, and continues to contaminate the air. It still does not match up to the benefits that solar, geothermal, or wind energy could bring. Another common argument in the pro Fracking crowd is that the green house gases aren’t as hazardous as people claim them to be. This argument addresses how Methane really isn’t that big of a threat in comparison to coal, and since natural gas is replacing coal then the emissions will continue to go down. Something to challenge this has been addressed, Methane is the second largest contributor to green house gases, so to say that one greenhouse gas decreasing will lower emissions over all is eronous, since they all will increase emissions. There is also a debate on the severity of water contaminated due to Fracking: the point is that if it could be contaminated it is a problem. Harmful chemicals released through Fracking can cause a multitude of issues. To sumasize, Fracking is a very controversial problem and it can have a multitude of approaches to defending or refuting it. Here is what we can walk away with: yes there have been “ lesser” instances of Fracking where has contaminated water and have harmed habitats. Although this may be true it is important to recognize that we should not be supporting environmental policies that even have the smallest amount of error, or harm done onto people or the environment. Additionally, the argument that we should just settle for relying on Non Renewable energy is more important than finding cleaner energy is wrong. We should be finding new ways to be innovative, and finding new ways to enhance our economies. Additionally, the environmental hazards outweigh the benefits that fracking could bring. The plethora of “jobs” it creates are not sustainable because it is a non- renewable resources, and will eventually deplete. It is also not sustainable because of the environmental hazards that it creates, so workers are faced with working conditions that are not protected due to the vast multitudes of earthquakes. Lastly, fracking does not improve quality of life for other people while it has been proven to contaminate water supply, and habitats. It is also wrong to say that Fracking is sustainable due to it being such a new technology that has no way of being predictable. So the environmental depletion we are faced with now is hardly anything we could see later on.
    https://www.alternet.org/environment/8-dangerous-side-effects-fracking-industry-doesnt-want-you-hear-about

  22. In this globalized world, having the resources to run a society that demands more and more is absolutely essential. In the United States, fracking is a subject that is often divisive because while some believe looking within the country for a solution to the energy problem is the solution, just as many believe that doing so will only bring ruin to the country.
    Fracking for oil and natural gas in order to provide power for the country to use that comes from a reliable and cheap source while supporting American laborers is a prospect that naturally appeals to many Americans. Many Americans are concerned that buying energy resources for vendors outside of the US will have no benefits for those within the country. Many Americans would rather give their money to a fellow American rather than a shady foreigner. Furthermore, the pro-fracking people argue that there is no reason to be concerned with environmental and health consequences because fracking has not shown any demonstrable negative effects as of yet. One issue that the other side often points to is the idea that fracking causes earthquakes. Fracking advocates argue that earthquakes are natural occurring and citizens near fracking wells have hardly been affected at all. For these reasons, fracking for oil and natural gas is seen by fracking advocates as a possible future solution to the US’s energy problems.
    On the other side of the issue, there are many who only see fracking within the US as detrimental to the environment, detrimental to the health of Americans, and nothing but a short-term attempt at a solution to a long-term problem. To start, fracking is such a new form of obtaining oil and natural gas that there hasn’t been nearly enough research into the long-term effects on the environment and public health when these resources are burned. Many think that the government should be cautious with how much fracking is done because there is as of yet no way of knowing what effects it could have on the health of the populace and the environment. They argue that other forms of energy production seem to be a lot safer and more effective in the long term for public health and the environment. Another issue that has many anti-fracking advocates worried is the number of earthquakes that have occurred in fracking-heavy areas that only seem to be increasing as fracking increases. Research done in places like Texas and Oklahoma have suggested that the result of all this fracking is risky and unknown. Anti-fracking advocates want the fracking advocates to conduct research into the possible negative effects that fracking could have on America.
    The issue of whether or not the US should obtain the resources to meet its demand for energy has resulting in fracking being looked at as both the solution and the problem for the issue. While fracking could provide abundant energy produced by American workers the unknown effects of fracking also have many worried that it could only be detrimental to Americans in the long-run.

  23. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method of mining that is carried out by pumping water mixed with sand and chemicals deep into the Earth’s crust in order to bring natural gas to the surface. Fracking is a controversial practice because the upside makes it attractive to mining companies, but the downside is that it takes a massive toll on the environment.
    Fracking is popular among mining companies, especially in the United States. It is very common in states like Texas, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Arkansas. Fracking is so popular because, even though it is more expensive than some other forms of mining and drilling, the process allows companies to tap into large, untouched oil reserves that are buried in the crust, so mining companies can get a large amount of gas in short amount of time. Fracking is also popular because the process is far less water intensive than other forms of energy which means the operations don’t require as much infrastructure. This means fracking operations can be quickly set up in a place where there is natural gas, and then easily moved to a new location when the natural gas has been collected.
    Fracking is controversial because it has a major, negative effect on the environment. The biggest concerns with fracking are water contamination and earthquakes. Fracking involves pumping water and chemicals into the ground, so water contamination is an obvious issue. When the water is pumped into the crust, the pressure rises and causes cracks in the bedrock. From there, the water can contaminate ground water or make its way to lakes, rivers, ponds, etc., and make the water undrinkable and unusable for irrigation. The other major concern with fracking is earthquakes. When water is pumped into the wholes drilled for fracking are filled with water, the pressure on the tectonic plates increases and leads to cracking and movement in the earth’s crust, i.e. an earthquake. There is a large quantity of evidence that supports the claim that fracking has lead to an increase in the number of earthquakes in and around areas where there are fracking operations. According to the 2014 “Annual Reviews of Environment and Resources” paper, the number of 3.0mW earthquakes per year in central US has increased about five-fold, from 21 per year to about 100 per year. Natural gas companies argue that the earthquakes are small and essentially insignificant, but the research shows that fracking has likely caused the increase. Another issue associated with fracking is air pollution. Overall fracking releases less greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than coal or petroleum, but there is research that suggests fracking releases as much, if not more, methane than other types of mining and drilling. Scientists aren’t yet sure of all the possible long term effects fracking has already caused or what effects could arise or be worsen by continued fracking.

    Sources:
    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-fracking-5-key-issues/
    http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/24/investing/fracking-shale-oil-boom/index.html

  24. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is the practice of obtaining natural gas from shale formations through pumping pressurized water-based fluid beneath the surface of the earth. The practice is controversial because it causes unwanted side effects such as pollution and earthquakes. The EPA claims that on balance, the benefits of fracking outweigh the costs. The natural gas obtained from fracking is used to create energy for the United States. The energy contributes to various uses including electricity. Supporters of fracking claim that obtaining the means to create energy domestically is good for the stability of our nation and helps our economy by creating jobs. Our self-sufficiency prevents reliance on imported energy and allows the United States to establish its dominance in another industry, increasing international hegemony. Proponents of the increased jobs that fracking provides believe that employing more American workers is a priority worth supporting. This pro-employment argument proves problematic because the fact that an industry provides jobs does not justify the potential harmful impact of what those jobs would be doing. We should certainly desire increased employment but it does not have to come through fracking and thus arguing such is not productive to the conversation about fracking.
    One potential negative to continuing to frack for natural gas in the United States is that fracking is proven to contribute to drinking water resources. It pollutes the water supply where fracking takes place and contaminates the drinking water for local communities. The pollution of water is caused by numerous factors including spills, improper well construction. The use of water in the practice of fracking can also cause stress on the local supplies, as it requires a significant supply of water to concoct the hydro solution used to pump into the earth. Disposal of the contaminated wastewater from fracking can also cause pollution if mismanaged. The air can also be polluted during the process of hydraulic fracking. The gasses released below the surface can frequently release into the air. The implications from air pollution are numerous. It can be hazardous and toxic for human health in addition to contributing to our existing greenhouse gas problem.
    Earthquakes are another hazard associated with fracking. As companies continue to inject the highly pressurized water into the subsurface of the earth, the pressure builds. The main contributor is when they wastewater from fracking is disposed of into deep wells in the earth. When the earth’s plates must release the pressure it causes earthquakes. Some say that fracking itself does not cause earthquakes because it is really the disposal of water but we would not have to dispose of wastewater from fracking if we were not fracking so this argument is one of semantics. One area that has seen the impacts of these earthquakes is Oklahoma. Since the introduction and increase of fracking to their environment, they have seen a significant increase in the seismic activity in Oklahoma. Many fracking related earthquakes are very small but 2016 the United States Geological Survey predicted a chance of significant damages to structures in the south central United States attributed to fracking earthquakes. The impacts of fracking vary. It is true that the United States gains natural gas and oil, both vital resources from the process; however, the negative impacts of fracking are cause for concern.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/09/07/the-connection-between-earthquakes-and-fracking/#133c73296d68
    https://www.epa.gov/hydraulicfracturing

  25. Since the 1950s, companies have been using hydraulic fracking to extract oil from the earth. Fracking is an extremely efficient way to get oil and has many economic benefits, but it also has many negative effects on the environment. Scientists have linked fracking to pollution, water contamination, and even earthquakes. However, the practice is still continued. To understand why, we must look at both the pros and cons of hydraulic fracking.
    The main reason fracking is still a continued practice is that it benefits the economy. Since it is the most efficient was to extract oil from the ground, companies save a lot of money by fracking, which in turn lowers gas prices for consumers. Another reason some still support fracking is that it produces economic growth and energy independence. When fracking is practiced in America, it lessens our dependence on oil from the Middle East or Russia. Using American oil ensures that our country will be able to provide for itself, even if we have conflict with foreign nations. Fracking also provides jobs for Americans, although renewable energy such as solar and wind has overtaken oil and coal in the number of jobs they provide. The royalties companies must pay the government to drill oil on U.S. soil provide money for public health and education as well.
    Unfortunately, there are also many downsides to fracking. One of the most prominent problems caused by the practice is earthquakes. In the last few years, the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased exponentially. Though some refuse to acknowledge the connection between fracking and the increase in earthquakes, the relationship between the two is becoming more and more obvious. The U.S. geological survey has gone so far as to admit the connection between fracking and earthquakes, which is a risky move because of how powerful oil corporations are in the United States. Although most earthquakes produced by fracking are not large enough to be felt, the U.S. geological survey has estimated that the percent chance of significant damage to homes and businesses is rising.
    Fracking causes many environmental problems as well. One of the most obvious consequences is water pollution. Studies have suggested that the quality of groundwater decreases greatly in areas in which fracking is common. However, very few people know about the effect fracking has on water quality because of the government’s recent efforts to promote natural gas. Natural gas is cleaner than coal, so the Obama administration wanted to encourage its use over coal. The Bush administration also supported fracking by exempting the practice from some clean water initiatives. Because of the government’s support of fracking, there is less research on the consequences than there should be.
    Fracking has many economic benefits and increases America’s energy independence, but it also negatively effects the environment in multiple ways. In order to fully understand the consequences the practice has on the environment, more studies need to be conducted and the government needs to take a less biased stance on the practice and look at the negative long term effects fracking has and not just at the current economic benefits.

  26. While many people see fracking as a purely harmful exercise, there are both pros and cons to fracking in the United States. Fracking is a form of drilling for natural gas and oil in which water, sand, and other chemicals are shot at a high pressure at shale rock under the ground, which breaks the shale, releasing natural gas and oil that can then be extracted. While fracking has been around for a while, it was never truly profitable until the twenty first century.
    The most obvious con is the environmental damage that fracking can cause. While natural gas is cleaner than other fossil fuels such as coal, the extraction is very labor intensive and damages the site. As we discussed in lecture last week, fracking has been linked to an increase of earthquakes in areas such as Oklahoma due to the high pressure and wastewater left over under ground. Fracking is also more prone to oil spills than regular drilling and can cause noticeable air and water pollution. During the process, as much as 4% of one of the most common chemicals used with fracking, methane, escapes into and pollutes the air. Methane is much better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, and causes air quality around fracking sites to be poor.
    Although there are many environmental cons, there are also many economic pros. Because of the rise in fracking in the United States, the US has become a net exporter of energy as opposed to a net importer. This has protected the US from supply controls by OPEC. When these oil producing countries (Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya,Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela) try to limit the amount of natural resources extracted as to inflate the price, the United States will quickly begin fracking operations, inflating the supply and therefore forcing OPEC countries to increase their supply and lower prices at which point the US scales back its fracking operations. This is an obvious pro for the United States. The United States is thus energy independent and can protect itself from supply shock such as what happened in the 1970’s that caused stagflation (high unemployment along with high inflation).
    However, this disguises a con for certain workers. Because of the rapid start and stop of these operations, fracking jobs are very unstable. Sometimes these laborers, engineers, and other workers will be in high demand, such as what happened between 2005 and 2012 with the fracking boom. Fracking alone is said to have even decreased the unemployment rate of the recession by 0.5%. But when the price of natural gas or oil suddenly drops, which is bound to happen at some point, these people find themselves unemployed. Another con of fracking, more on the environmental side of things, is water usage. Facking is said to use more than one hundred times more water than traditional drilling does. This can contribute to water shortages during droughts in places like Texas and New Mexico.

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