Fracking too dangerous to continue in the U.S.

Fracking too dangerous to continue in the U.S. by Alexandra Snow, October 30, 2012, Fourth Estate Newspaper
Imagine waking up and walking to the kitchen to get a glass of water. After turning on the faucet, there’s a horrible rattling and hissing, and the water that comes out is a cloudy, brownish liquid with sediment on the bottom. This is what has happened to several homeowners in Dimock, Pa., who said this contaminated water is the result of the heavy fracking operations in their area. According to the Daily Resource Hunter, an investment website that provides information on natural resources, fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a technique companies use to extract natural gas and oil trapped deep in the Earth.

According to Environmental Engineering and Contracting, Inc., the history of fracking can be traced back to the 1940s, although it didn’t become popular until around 2003. With its growth and popularity came more and more controversy. According to BBC News, one of the main concerns of fracking is that the chemicals being used are unsafe and can contaminate water.

Some homeowners in Colorado  said that gas from fracking has leaked into their drinking supply and could cause their tap water to ignite. However, a Colorado official addressing the matter disagreed. Instead, he blamed the homeowner for drilling his well into an underground pocket of methane gas.

In April of 2011, Okla. Sen. James Inhofe tried to rebuke claims against the process. “There’s Never been one documented case of groundwater contamination in the history of the thousands and thousands of hydraulic fracturing wells,” James said.

Another problem, according to ABC news, is the lack of information. Critics of fracking claim the industry doesn’t provide enough information about the chemicals it uses, the amounts and the formulas. In an interview with ABC, Rayola Dougher, a spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute, was asked why the company doesn’t let chemical information out. “It would be like Coke giving away their magic formula to Pepsi,” Dougher said. “They just don’t want to tell you because they think it gives them a competitive advantage.” Despite the fact that it could be spewing unknown chemicals and natural gas into people’s water supplies, supporters of fracking still argue that it provides an ample natural gas supply, which helps keep fuel costs down. According to BBC, it’s estimated to have offered gas security to the U.S. and Canada for about 100 years.

After looking at the facts, we need to prioritize what is the most important thing to our society. Losing our reliance on foreign energy is a major concern, but poisoning our own citizens to get to it is just wrong. … We need water to live, but we don’t need gas to live. Until we can make fracking a little safer and more regulated to prevent any hazards to U.S. citizens, fracking can wait. [Emphasis added]

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