7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Fracking
Fracking is now amidst controversy with supporters and critics airing their views on the effects of drilling where fresh water is used to force out rocks and give way to pipes. Major political parties are also exchanging arguments with Bernie Sanders saying that he does not support fracking while Hillary Clinton does. In another news, the Florida senate rejects a fracking bill a couple of days ago. These are just indications of how controversial this practice is.
It has been more than six decades since fracking has been offered commercially and up to now the arguments on its pros and cons have been ongoing for years now. Although there are countries that find fracking to be a good investment, still a great number of leaders do not agree with its practice. The UK, France and other member-countries of the European Union are not in favor of this. The UK also allows drilling for shale glass as an exploratory place and before fracking takes place, drilling companies need to comply with regulations.
Fracking – What is it?
Fracking is the common term from hydraulic fracturing. It is basically a process used to drill into the earth and is a technique designed to recover natural gas and oil from shale rock. In order to get results, hydraulic pressure is used and fracturing fluid consists of different chemicals mixed with sand and water is injected forcefully for the liquid to seep through the rocks. Closure of the gaps is prevented with the use of particulates and sand. When the liquid reaches the end of the pipe, natural gas will flow to the well as a result of gravity. The discovered oil and gases will not be distributed to be used for different applications in industries and the household.
Despite the benefits hydraulic fracturing presents, there are also potential drawbacks enumerated by critics. Here are some of the points voiced out by two camps about this subject:
List of Advantages of Fracking
1. Boom in the Economy.
Fracking has been helping the economy of the United States because since the government started to use it to dig oil under the U.S. soil, the oil and gas reserves of the country has drastically increased. Today, the U.S is not as dependent to oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia as before. Also, fracking made it possible for the country not to depend on Russia for natural gas. This has also made it possible for the United States to become an exporter of oil and natural gas in the future because of the benefits of fracking.
2. Lesser Carbon Emissions.
As opposed to the hazardous gases coming from the burning of fossil fuels, fracking is more environment-friendly. Supporters posit that this process not only supply electricity and is abundant, it is also a better alternative to fossil fuels because it the practice only results to fewer carbon emissions. Additionally, it gives natural gases sufficient enough to supply the country until such time the world can get enough supply from renewable energy sources like the sun and the wind.
3. Creates Job Opportunities.
Fracking involves a lot of steps and the process is long. Drilling activities take place 24 hours a day and after the oil and gas are discovered, they have to be transported as well. The practice has brought jobs to hundreds of workers and their families. A single fracking involves skilled workers, office personnel, engineers and other employees. With the promising job opportunities made possible by fracking, unemployment in the states where fracking is done will be lessened.
List of Disadvantages of Fracking
1. Harmful to the Environment and the People.
Despite the apparent reduced carbon emissions brought about by fracking, setbacks are still present like water and noise pollution. Fracking itself might not be emitting carbon in the air but the 400 tankers that are on the roads, going to and from the site still burn fossil fuel and emit carbon. The people living in the perimeter of the site will be subjected to noise caused by the drilling and also the gas emissions coming from tankers. These tankers are also flammable and in case of accidents, explosions and deaths are possible.
2. Waste of Water.
Even if the supposedly benefit of fracking is reduced water consumption due to the replacement of fossil fuel with natural gas, this is not the case while the drilling is still on-going. Millions of gallons of water are needed in just a single fracking activity and this will definitely affect water supply. Moreover, some parts of the country are experiencing drought and which is not a good thing.
3. Problems of Water Contamination.
Aside from the imminent hazards to the environment, demonstrators of anti-fracking are angry at the possibility that these fracking activities can contaminate drinking water and can cause health hazards as well to the people of the community. Accidents can happen, including the accidental seeping of the chemicals to water pipes and drain buried underground if the drilling equipment hits and breaks these pipes. There have already been reports that residents of certain communities are becoming sick due to the presence of drilling activities. Moreover, there have been reports from homeowners that there are traces of chemicals found in their water pipes.
4. Unhealthy for Workers.
There are over 600 carcinogenic chemicals used in the mixture of the fracturing liquid and this can affect the health of the hundreds of workers employed in the fracking sites. Not all companies comply with the rules and regulations when it comes to safety in the workplace and the workers themselves are also not wearing Personal Protective Gear (PPE) because some find it inconvenient to wear gloves or are simply careless about wearing them.
Despite the promising economic future and independence of the U.S. when it comes to oil supply, there are still obvious setbacks in fracking. Aside from the above-mentioned disadvantages, some seismic activities are also attributed to this activity. It is important for the leaders of the world who see fracking ideal for the boost of their nations’ economies to also consider the implications of these activities to the people on a global scale.