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Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic Fracturing

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Published by Sara Addams

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Published by: Sara Addams on Jun 22, 2012
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09/03/2013

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Hydraulic Fracturing
 
 
Hydraulic fracturing, fracking, is the process used for extracting natural gas from
shale rock beneath the earth’s surface. During this long process, a “well” is created bydrilling over a mile below the earth’s surface and then
encasing this area in concrete andthe shale is fracked with a myriad of chemicals- as well as water- in order to break theshale allowing for easier access to mass amounts of this fossil fuel.In theory, this revolutionary method provides with a phenomenal new fuel. And, in aworld desperate for environmentally friendly, renewable, and cheap forms of energy thiswould seem like a godsend. However, it has reached a controversial status-believed to bethe cause of severe groundwater contamination, surface contamination, and earthquakes.Natural gas is not the issue. It is still a very efficient non-renewable resource whichcould be used to decrease the growing demand for coal in the United States. It emits about half of the carbon dioxide, a fourth of the carbon monoxide, less than 1/1000 of the sulfurdioxide and other particulates (in other words it emits fewer greenhouse gases- helping tocurve global warming). That information coupled with the fact that after extensive miningof coal in the United States there are few to no more easily accessible coal deposits. Thedemand for coal has led to the implementation of a mountain removal method.
It’s
self explanatory in order to provide access to the deposits of coal found deeper below the
earth’s surface.
Though natural gas is non-renewable it is proportionally much lesshazardous to the environment, and would be a good segue into the use of non-renewableresources.The hazards associated with hydraulic fracturing creating center around thechemicals that are pumped into the ground during the fracking process.
 
 
The chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing includehydrogen fluoride, lead, 2-BE,formaldehyde, diesel, naphthalene and chemicals in the BTEX compound group. These areonly some of about 50 chemicals used in fracking; many of them can cause severedevelopmental problems, problems with ones organs, blood cell destruction, and an arrayof cancers.Once again, in theory, the cement walls encasing the pipes should prevent the leaking of thechemicals used in fracking. However, if the cement is improperly placed or if it is somehowdamaged that protective barrier becomes useless.There is a new research topic (based on yet another controversy) about the possibility that the fracking can cause earthquakes. In Ohio, the theory that was developed after anastounding nine earthquakes in this seismically dead area, the only significant change wasthe fracking well. It is believed that the fluid went beyond the intended levels of 
penetration and “unclamped ancient faults,” which resulted in the seismic activity in the
area.Perhaps people can overlook a series of earthquakes that for the most part barelyreached above the 2.0 on the Richter scale. However, having their tap water catch flame(while incredibly awesome in theory) is terrifying. Water could turn murky, sediment 
filled, or look relatively normal with a “gassy” taste
- since companies are not legallyrequired to relinquish a list of the chemicals in fracking fluid it can be difficult for watertreatment plants to properly filter the water. But, it must be kept in mind that this problemarises not inherently from fracking, but rather from negligence on behalf of the companies.Personally, I find it difficult to believe that they are incapable of knowing that spills on the

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