17 Mar ’14
Natural Gas, How Much Does it Really Cost?
Natural gas is seen as the solution to becoming more energy independent. Since it can be found on American soil it reduces U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Hydraulic fracturing, or as it is commonly known, fracking, is the process that extracts natural gas from shale rocks. To extract the natural gas, one must drill a well and inject fluid into the ground at high pressure to fracture the shale rocks containing the natural gas. The fluid that is used for this process contains approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals, 600 of which are known carcinogens and toxins such as lead, mercury and uranium.
These chemicals then leak out and contaminate the nearby groundwater and wells that are used for drinking water for the surrounding cities and towns. The ongoing contamination is causing a variety of environmental and health concerns to the residents dependent on these wells. There was even a popular YouTube video showing a man lighting his tap water on fire to show just how flammable these waters have gotten as a result of the chemical contamination.
There has also been evidence that fracking has been causing a series of earthquakes in Ohio. In the past weeks a total of 11 earthquakes have been felt by residents. “The U.S. Geological survey has pinpointed the epicenters of some of these quakes to be in the vicinity of seven oil and gas production wells.” Fracking has been linked as the cause of earthquakes in several other states as well such as Arkansas, Oklahoma and in many other countries.
It is clear that although natural gas sounds great in theory, there are many adverse effects from the production and extraction of natural gas. Contaminating our water supply being the most important of these effects, as it is essential in everyday life and unavoidable. However, fracking remains a popular method, used throughout the United States and has spread globally. It makes one think, what will happen if most of the earth’s water supply becomes unusable due to contamination?
This situation kind of sucks since energy takes precedence over environment to maintain our standard of living. Alternative energy innovations should ease the issue. I’m wondering if it is better to have domestic production rather than forcing that pollution onto developing countries.