There are many issues in today’s world that face society but none more important than that of global climate change. Climate change is an ever-growing concern as it impacts each and every person.
It can be said that mankind is a large contributor to the issue of climate change as most human activities such as driving a car or burning coal to generate electricity add to the greenhouse gases that change the climate. Without careful consideration, it can lead to devastating effects on the earth and its inhabitants. In hopes of correcting this issue, the implementation of safer and cleaner alternatives can help to reduce greenhouse gases and slow climate change, for example, hydraulic fracturing as an alternative.
With much consideration, we the community for hydraulic fracturing recognizes the fear and unfamiliarity of this issue and are aware of the dangers of hydraulic fracturing to the environment and earth’s natural resources to those who oppose it. Hydraulic fracturing is also known as fracking and it began with its first commercial use in 1947. This method of mining introduces controlled cracking of deep rock formations with high-pressure liquid fluids for the enhanced oil and gas recovery within the rock (Marina, et al.
8451). Fracking agitates the flow of oil in gas in the rock that in turn increases the amount that can be recovered (“The Process of Hydraulic Fracturing”). The fractures are a result of pumping massive amounts of pressurized fluid that contain water, proppant, and chemical additives will enlarge and open fractures inside the rock (“The Process of Hydraulic Fracturing”).
It is unknown how far the fractures will extend away from the wellbore but they can be up to hundreds of feet (“The Process of Hydraulic Fracturing”). As a result of the fractures are held open due to the contents of the proppants that include a number of incompressible particles (“The Process of Hydraulic Fracturing”). At this point, the internal pressure of the rock will result in the return of the fluid to the surface by the wellbore known as flowback that contains injected chemicals and natural materials such as brines, metals, radionuclides, and hydrocarbons (“The Process of Hydraulic Fracturing”). In some situations, fracking can, in fact, be harmful to areas in which they are located. Water pollution/contamination is one such concern of fracking as it uses water, sand proppant, and chemicals injected into the ground during the fracking process that could flow upward towards the drinking water aquifers (Carpenter 57).
This can affect the population that surrounds the fracking site as chemicals could be ingested by drinking the water having negative side effects on the people. A second concern is the risk of earthquakes due to fracking methods. The injection of the high pressurized CO2 during the fracking process has been found to lead to high fluid pressure buildup to a level that may result in underground movement (Marina, et al. 8452).
Fracking is still a relatively new process and may become safer as time goes on. Fracking, on the other hand, can also be beneficial for many reasons. Hydraulic fracturing allows access to a new source of oil and gas that was first thought to be non-existent. This type of natural gas extraction has been shown it could move the United States towards energy independence (“Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan”). Fracking reduces the dependency on foreign oil and other gas products.
The second advantage to fracking is the economic benefit. Since the rise in popularity of fracking natural gas prices have dropped forty-seven percent compared to what the price was before 2013 thus resulting in a lowering of taxes (Dews). Lastly, fracking shows a reduction in the levels of air pollutants. The natural gas that is extracted through the fracking process burns cleaner than that of oil and coal and emits less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere resulting in better air quality (“Benefits and Dangers of Fracking”). This lowers the amount of greenhouse gases and should begin to slow down global warming (“Benefits and Dangers of Fracking”). Without hydraulic fracturing to combat climate change Earth stands to be irreversibly damaged. Hydraulic fracturing may not be the answer for every person but it is the best option at this moment in time until an alternative is found or created.
Without hydraulic fracturing, the rising numbers of greenhouse gases will continue to build adding to the global climate change issue along with the higher cost for natural gas. The overall goal of hydraulic fracking is not to cause harm to the environment it is to help move the world in the right direction of cleaner fuels. It can be seen that there are many factors on both sides for and against the hydraulic fracturing issue that have valid points. As a person who stands to be affected by the fracking process along with the consumers of these types of natural resources, it is important to have a good understanding of what fracking really consists of both the good and the bad.
With this information, the continuation of fracking should be allowed to keep operating. Hydraulic fracturing is the answer to reducing greenhouse gases and the slowing of climate change until new avenues are created in renewable resources. Fracking can not only help the declining climate change issue but it can also bring revenue to those areas in which they are operating. Fracking brings revenue to many parts of the community in which they operate, for example, lodging establishments, food industry, and retail to name a few. For the communities that are in and around these hydraulic fracturing areas that may have concerns from its citizens, they should have the option to be updated as to what fracking is doing to the area in which they live. For these reasons and with safe fracking practices fracking should be allowed to keep operating.