Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is a widespread practice in the United States. Fracking is a method used to extract oil and natural gas. Scientists and citizens report detrimental side effects of hydraulic drilling. New York and Vermont have banned fracking statewide. Maryland has set a two year moratorium on fracking, so that more research can be done to show the impacts of fracking on the environment.
Nationwide, many other cities and counties have banned fracking as well. All states should look into finding alternative sources of energy, instead of using devastating practices like fracking to extract non-renewable resources. Hydraulic fracturing is a technique that combines water mixed with chemicals that is then pumped into shale deposits, allowing access to underground stores of natural gas and other resources. The high pressure used to pump the liquid mix into the shale causes the rocks to fracture. Propping agents like sand or ceramic beads are injected into these fractures so they remain open once the pumping of fluid has stopped. This allows drilling companies to harvest the natural gas stored in the shale.
Fluids used during the extraction process are pushed back to the surface from the pressure of the shale and are known as flowback. According to the Chevron website (2015), “Producing natural gas from shale is made possible by extended-reach horizontal drilling to access the resource and hydraulic fracturing where water under pressure is used to fracture the rock, releasing the trapped gas.” It also states that almost all oil and gas wells in the U.S. are subject to fracking. No where on the website does it specify what chemicals are used in this process.
According to critics, large amounts . .oubt that the fluid used in the fracking process contains chemicals, and when released into water supplies has negative effects on these sources. Injection of flowback materials into deep wells has been definitively linked to increased seismic activity. Damage to roads due to the high traffic of trucks shipping equipment and product is astronomical. Worldwide, four countries have outright banned the practice and others are waiting for more research to be done before they continue to allow it.
A few states know the devastating side effects that come with the practice, and have banned hydraulic fracturing. While there is no doubt that fracking can produce resources that are used by Americans, there is a lot of doubt as to whether it is safe or not. Hopefully, the country will follow those that have banned the practice, and adopt other safer forms of energy production.