17+ Reasons to Ban Fracking That Will Blow Your Mind
Fracking is a process of mining that involves injecting high pressure water into areas that are being mined in order to open up or expand existing fissures. It is used to give the minerals a passage to escape thus allowing for easier extraction of minerals from deep within the earth. It is especially popular in the energy industry where it is used in the extraction of oil and natural gas. Touted as a revolutionary extraction method, it has many faults that give reason for the listing of 17+ reasons for the banning of fracking.
Fracking kills, and it doesn’t just kill us. It kills the land, nature and, eventually, the whole world.
Fracking’s most controversial disadvantage is that it has been linked to seismic activities. The action of pumping high pressure water into the earth’s crust leads to the creation of new fissures and fault lines. Pressures placed on the newly formed fissures by the weight above causes shifts in the earth’s crust that results in earthquakes and other seismic activity. This can destabilize the ground in a region causing potential catastrophic failures of drilling rigs. This was confirmed by a U.S Geological Survey.
Chemicals are usually added to the water along with abrasive agents such as sand so as to enable the high pressure water to cut into the fissures. These materials add foreign matter to the rock that eventually seeps into the ground water, polluting the large, fresh water underground tables with elements of unclean waste from the fracking process. This can ultimately translate in the pollution of rivers that source water from these underground springs.
Use of hazardous chemicals
Fracking requires the use of chemicals which include additives of biocide, surfactants, stabilizers and polymeric lubricants. In the US, this is particularly a challenge as most states do not require the companies to share what kind of chemicals they use. It therefore means that companies can use hazardous chemicals and people would never know. Some of these chemicals have been said to be carcinogenic in nature. The resulting effects on both people and the population can be devastating.
The effluent used in fracking can sometimes make it back to the surface. It is usually left unprocessed in large pits where it slowly evaporates. What is left behind is slurry which contains dangerous chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which adversely affect the individuals who live next to them. According to a Colorado Department of Environmental and Occupational Health study, women who live next to fracking sites are 30 percent more likely to give birth to children who suffer from congenital heart diseases.
Oil spill damage
There were over 1000 oil spills reported in North Dakota in the year 2011. These were as a result of accidents transporting oil. An ExxonMobil pipeline bursting led loss of 42,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River. This led to large environmental destruction. These cases of environmental pollution are all instigated by the practice of fracking.
Loss of water
Statistically, 90 percent of the water that is pumped out during fracking does not return to the surface. This means that after a while, the source of fracking water runs dry. Accordingly, it has caused problems in water stressed regions that are denied water in order to supply the fracking process because the water is lost in the process, an example being Barnhart, Texas. This may hinder agricultural activities as well as normal living conditions of those who live next to fracking sites.
Water pollution by Gas
One challenge with extraction of resources from underground sources is the difficulty experienced trying to control the movement. Fracking has been known to cause contamination of drinking water when methane and other natural gases find their way into water piping that holds drinking water. Methane can also find its way into acquirers which serve as drinking water storage sites. This makes the water impossible to consume and destroys the water reserves that have been contaminated.
Methane extraction is hard to control and usually, this leads to leakage. This is particularly bad as methane gas is a notoriously harmful greenhouse gas whose effects are very strong. This means that increased fracking leads to increased levels of greenhouse gases escaping into the atmosphere where they lead to general temperature increase associated with climate change.
Fracking sites are generally regarded as eye sores wherever they appear. This is especially true when the equipment are placed in regions where there is a dense human population or when they appear close to housing estates. They are of no aesthetic value and contribute to a greater chance of pollution in a region where they are situated as well leading to damage of air quality which contributes to soreness of the eyes.
The soaring need for alternative fuel
Fracking was a revolutionary process that breathed new life into the oil exploration and drilling process. Over the past 7 years, it has almost doubled the amount of oil drilled in the USA as well as being the reason why oil prices in the US are cheaper than in Europe. However, this has meant that there has been less incentive for governments to look into alternative fuel sources.
Higher insurance premiums
In a UK report titled Shale Gas Rural Economy Impact, it has been revealed that properties within a one-five mile radius of fracking operations will have to pay higher insurance costs. This means that the cost of fracking will be unfairly felt even by those who do not support it. This is in connection with the adverse effects that fracking has had in the US where there have been links between fracking and pollution.
Reduced property values
Fracking has also led to reduced property values in the regions that surround the sites of production. A UK report estimates that for properties that are within a mile of the well, the expected reduction of value is at about 7 percent. This could translate into backlash from people who would not like to see the value of their property drop.
Fracking has been linked with increased noise pollution in regions where the industry takes off. This is especially disconcerting when it happens in rural areas. The noise pollution can increase the amount of stress that the industry places on the natural environment such as on birds and animals alike. It also disturbs the tranquility of those regions with increase in traffic from machinery used to operate the rig as well as the rig itself.
Increased radon presence
A study by Johns Hopkins University found that in regions (both suburban and rural) where fracking wells were being drilled, there was an overall 39 percent increase in the radon concentration within homes as compared to regions without fracking wells. This is particularly bad as radon is the second largest cause of lung cancer after smoking, with 21,000 lung cancer deaths being associated with radon.
Elevated mining of related materials
As fracking needs the use of silica as an abrasive agent, there has been an increased demand in the amount of silica mined in recent years. Mining of the sand to source silica has led to increased air pollution sustained by increased dust presence. This has caused an increase lung related diseases among individuals who live close to the mines. Diseases such as asthma and bronchitis are particularly on the rise in such regions.
Quid pro Quo between legislation and big oil
There has been an established nature of litigative hindrance of federal laws that seek to regulate fracking by individuals at the state level. This is because the oil and gas industry actively lobbies against laws that hinder fracking by making big donations to the campaign funds of lawmakers at the senate level in order to ensure that laws against fracking do not pass. This has hindered the legal system by having these cooperation place undue influence on the process of law making to favor their selfish interests.
The long term effects and grave
Proponents of fracking argue that the industry creates new jobs for people as well as providing a cheaper way of drilling for oil that is both cheaper and more energy efficient. However, these proponents do not consider the fact that they are only short term goals that do not consider the long term adverse environmental effects caused by fracking. The short term gains associated with fracking do not justify the long term challenges and problems with regards to environmental pollution.
Other towns are banning it too
In the “birth place of fracking” a town of Denton where they have lived with fracking since the late 2000s, they moved to pass legislation that bans fracking. This is despite alleged spending by the oil industry to the tune of 700,000 dollars to contest the decision. Other places that have banned fracking include Netherlands, Scotland, France and large parts of Canada. In the US the state of New York has also banned fracking citing their reason as concern for the environment.
Image credit: flickr
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