Hydraulic Fracking Pros and Cons

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August 29, 2016
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Hydraulic Fracking Pros and Cons

Due to the rapidly expanding population and our heavy reliance on power and electricity in this modern age, energy sources around the world are slowly dissipating. In light of this, the need for alternative energy sources has been rising in many places around the world. Since the new millennia, the oil and gas industry has increased the use of a process called hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to unlock oil and gas from underground rock formations across the United States. However, hydraulic fracking has become a highly debated topic in recent years. Those for fracking argue for the positive economic benefits that hydraulic fracturing can produce, such as an expanded natural gas market and the creation of jobs. However, hydraulic fracking does not fit the depiction of a clean energy source. Like other methods of extracting non-renewable energy sources, fracking has shown to contribute to severe environmental damage and pose a grave risk to human health. Due to the potential of these risks and damages, the practice of hydraulic fracking needs to be stopped.

Those that support this method of extracting natural gas claim that it has improved the economy by expanding the natural gas market and creating new jobs. Today, the use of natural gas has become the go-to fuel when generating electricity due to its lower cost and being cleaner than burning coal. Since the aggressive expansion of fracking, the U.S is now the world’s second leading producer of natural gas, behind Russia. This expansion of fracking has contributed to thousands of jobs, and since 2003, about 80,000 new jobs have been created. An increase in jobs leads to higher disposable incomes which, in turn, act to benefit other areas of the economy.

Although the wells are designed to keep the contents from leaving the well, many argue that contamination to the local environment still occurs. Significant amounts of fracking fluid are left in the ground after a well is completed, which are not biodegradable. The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate, which can release harmful volatile organic compounds, such as methane gas, into the atmosphere. Methane gas has a shorter life span than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but its ability to trap radiation in the atmosphere is about 20 times greater. This increased ability to trap radiation severely contributes to the progressive increase in the global temperature which is, in turn, triggering a broad range of world-altering events such as increased drought, a higher rate of hurricanes, and sea-level rise.

It is clear that in the world today we need cleaner, alternative sources of energy. In light of this, various communities look towards hydraulic fracking for natural gas as a solution to lower the dependency of using dwindling energy sources such as coal. Fracking, however, is not a sustainable, safe, or profitable solution in the long term. The economic benefits are narrowed to the expansion of the natural gas market for only about 100 years with only short term job creations. The various damages heavily outweigh these minimal benefits to not only the global and local environments, but to the health of the people who happen to live nearby these areas. There are much more specific cons of fracking not mentioned in this article but I highly recommend you do the research yourself; there is a lot of evidence.

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