What is Hydraulic Fracturing?
Hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) is a way to extract natural gas that is trapped in underground shale rock formations. In order to release this natural gas, a well must be drilled and then pumped with millions of gallons of water, sand and over 80,000 pounds of chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens. This pressurized injection creates fractures in the shale rock which helps the natural gas to be withdrawn from the well. After a well has been fracked the natural gas must be separated from the “produced water” by evaporating the volatileorganic compounds using evaporators and condensate tanks. The wastewater is then trucked off to facilities where it is treated.
Why is fracking bad?
- The chemicals used in the fracking process, such as benzene (a known carcinogen) are toxic and pose a huge risk to both human health and the environment
- The externalities such as trucking distances required for thefracking process demands massive amounts of fossil fuels
- The VOC’s that are evaporated from the produced water cause surface smog and contribute to ozone and the perpetuation of the greenhouse effect
- It has been suggested that fracking is linked to over 1,000 occasions where the chemicals in fracking contaminated groundwater
- This contamination makes many residents’ drinking water unfit for consumption and in certain instances residents could ignite their tap water
How could something like this be happening?
In America there is a piece of legislation called the Safe Drinking Water Act that is supposed to ensure the purity of our drinking water. However, the process of gas drilling was excused from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Halliburton Loophole and exempts oil and gas companies from disclosing the chemicals used in the fracking process. The FRACK Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness to Chemical Act) is a House bill intended to repeal the Halliburton Loophole and require oil and gas companies to reveal the chemicals that they use in the fracking process.
We want to stop fracking. There are different ways to do this such as a political ban, getting the DEC to declare it too dangerous or by proving that it is not economically viable for NY.
For more information and resources on fracking check out these links:Vodpod videos no longer available. Vodpod videos no longer available.