The United States has employed numerous means to harvest natural gases from the earth. Until recently, fracking may have been the most overlooked.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is the process of drilling into the earth and directing a highly pressurized water stream at rocks. This allows natural gas to flow freely. However, this new procedure isn’t as revolutionary as it may seem.
Fracking itself requires enormous amounts of water, representing a heavy cost to the environment. There are also immense amounts of carcinogenic chemicals used that could potentially contaminate surrounding groundwater.
A recent study conducted by researchers at Duke University has linked fracking to groundwater contamination because of poor construction of wells in conjunction with fracking occurring near these particular wells. The emission of methane alone is bad, but the chemical’s appearance in tap water is enough to make people avoid drinking from the tap.
Additionally, companies leave waste products in the ground, simply because they can’t think to put it anywhere else.
Responding to the environmental dangers of fracking, Connecticut recently passed a bill that prohibits the storage or disposal of fracking waste. In August, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper settled a deal that agreed to remove controversial anti-fracking legislation from November’s ballot. In exchange for this concession, the state will form a committee to investigate fracking’s effects on local communities.
Minnesota has been at the forefront of this controversy, with Gov. Mark Dayton having passed a law regulating sand mining, which is used in the fracking process. We need to consider the negative aspects of continuing to exploit natural resources and accept the fact that we must adopt alternative energies as our primary energy source.