Fracking is Destroying our Planet – Ecocide
Yes, I’m very verbose and passionate about stopping ecocide – Hydraulic Fracking of oil and gas deposits. I know there are always two sides to a coin, and I know there are some that profess the economic benefits of fracking far outweigh the negative consequences. Actually there are some that will tell you there are no negative consequences. Really? Just look at the picture above. Fracking is raping the very land we live on, just for a few extra barrels of oil, or gas. Is it really worth the massacre of the environment? Personally I think not. I think instead of putting our money into continued fracking, those corporations should be using those funds to find alternative ways of harnessing nature in a non-invasive manner that could provide clean and sustainable energy for the good of mankind.
So, let me explain a bit about fracking. It has been going on since the late 1940s. Of course technology wasn’t what it is today, and the process was much less harmful to our Mother Earth. Since 1998, with the introduction of new technologies there has been a surge in oil and natural gas production. I’ve heard this has reduced the amount of imports and has led to hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue for companies and landowners. The downside to this is what has it done for consumers?
The America’s Natural Gas Association (ANGA) estimated that lower gas prices would add an additional $926.00 of disposable household income annually between 2012 and 2015. Is this true? I would venture to guess that most of the people reading this blog have not experienced this additional income in their pockets due to price decreases in oil and gas over the past couple of years. In fact, I would suspect that any gains found in this process are ending up like previously stated in the pockets of the elite in those corporations ravishing our lands.
Fracking is a process by which a well is drilled into the ground sometimes as much as 20,000 feet where fluid is injected under very high pressure. This fluid is forced into fissures where small amounts of gas and oil are left over from a spent oil or gas well. This fluid then forces these deposits to rise to the surface where they are separated off for production. This process requires pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals into the ground to break apart the rock and free the gas. Some of that water, along with large quantities of existing underground water returns to the surface and it can contain high levels of salt, drilling chemicals, heavy metals and naturally occurring low-level radiation.
This wastewater is then “treated” and recycled in a variety of ways. Much more explanation about this following.
There are a number of concerns that we should all be aware of with fracking. I will address each of them in the order in which they are listed here:
Wastewater treatment and water disposal
First and foremost it takes millions of gallons of water annually to frack well sites. It is estimated the average coal bed for methane production requires 65,000 gallons of water. Shale gas production requires up to 13 Million gallons. To put this in perspective it requires 5 million gallons of water to serve 500,000 people per day. Just last week I was talking about how many of the aquifers in the U.S. are in dire situations with many concerned they may dry up in the next few decades. If this is true, then why would do we allow a production method to use so much water diverting it from more important uses like daily living for people, or agriculture to grow our produce?
Chemical mixing is bad news. There are currently over 2500 different chemical combinations being used in fracking. Twelve of the most used chemicals are known carcinogens. Why do they use the chemicals? The chemicals can change the viscosity and properties of the fluid in order to optimize their performance of the fluid while it is destroying the earth. The most commone chemical used for hydraulic fracturing has been methanol. This chemical along with isopropyl alcohol, 2-butoxyethanol, and ethylene glycol (anti-freeze) can cause serious health hazards.
All of this chemical mixing takes place on a Fracture Pad. Each fracture pad consists of an injection well, a mixing station, and typically a wastewater collection site. There is fear there could be a major catastrophe of chemical spills at these sights. In fact, there are all ready reported incidents of chemical spills and fires as a result of accidents at these fracture pads.
There are reports that this chemical mixing has polluted the air up to a mile surrounding these fracture pads. The air contains residuals of many of these chemicals and may cause serious health hazards such as blindness, coma, and death due to affects on the nervous system, the heart, and kidneys.
Chemical spills can also affect groundwater pollution. But the more serious concern for the groundwater pollution comes from the wastewater disposal. Nearly 1/3 of the fluid used to frack these wells comes up in the form of wastewater. Sometimes this wastewater is recycled and used for irrigation and agricultural needs. Sometimes this wastewater is reused for other injection wells. Other times this wastewater is buried deep wells that are thousands of feet deep in Mother Earth, and often times this wastewater is sent to Public Wastewater Treatement facilities where they do not have the means necessary to deal with all the chemicals. At times this wastewater is simply dumped into local rivers and lakes.
Obviously none of these methods is viable for maintaining long-term sustainable healthy ecological practices. In fact, when the water is pumped to wells underground, Mother Nature has balked. She balks in the form of earthquakes. Yes, there is a direct correlation that has been tied to earthquakes and fracking.
When this water is sent via high pressure into these waste wells, it increases pressure and reduces friction along fault lines. One of the best known early examples of this was in 1961 the U.S. Army disposed of millions of gallons of hazardous waste 12,000 feet beneath the surface of Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver. The influx caused 1500 earthquakes over the next 5 year period in an area that had never before been prone to seismic activity. What Geologists later discovered was that the Army had drilled into an unknown fault.
In recent years there has been additional increases in seismic activity in areas that never before experienced such events. Areas such as Oklahoma, and Arkansas. As recent as March of 2014, a 4.4 earthquake in Los Angeles is suspected to have been triggered by injecting wastewater in these wells just 8 miles from the epicenter of the quake.
Bottom line, this process of fracking is slowly chipping away at a fragile Mother Earth. To me it is no different than standing on a ball and in one hand wielding a hammer chipping away at the very ball we are standing on. Over time, won’t that ball shatter? Why must we be so insensitive to Mother Nature to rape and purge her just in the name of Corporate profits? Aren’t there better ways to spend our monies and skills to find cleaner, more non-invasive means of producing natural energy for our world? Shouldn’t we (the U.S.) be heeding the leadership of so many countries around the world and banning fracking until we are certain there are technologies in place to insure we aren’t harming Mother Earth, or raping her landscape?
If you want to make a difference and prevent Corporations from committing ecocide, stand up and be counted as one against such practices. Currently there are 418 actions against fracking in the U.S. Cities, counties, and States (Vermont) are all stepping up and saying no more.
For more information regarding fracking check out these websites: