Blog Post 6: Land & Habitat

Fracking (Hydraulic fracturing)

The advancement of natural gas technologies has opened the door for new technology to combat old fossil fuels. Though natural gas is not renewable, it is abundant and can replace oil and power coal in a cleaner way. Unfortunately this new means of energy is causing problems when it comes to the landscapes it seeks to drill from. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking”, is the process used to withdraw natural gas and other new methods of energy from the ground. This procedure involves pumping chemical fluids, at high pressures, into rock layers so that they may crack and release the gasses from below.

Many opponents of fracking, due to its possible environmental consequences, have arisen over time to clear the air on whether this is something that needs to be stopped in order to save the landscape. Oil and gas companies injected hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into wells in more than 13 states from 2005 to 2009, according to an investigation by Congressional Democrats. It’s not hard to come to the conclusion that terrible implications for the environment arise when millions of gallons of chemicals are put in the ground, but now earthquakes might be associated with fracking. Unusual amounts of earthquakes have been popping up after fracking has moved into the same areas. Braxton County, West Virginia has had a “rash of freak earthquakes (eight in 2010) since fracking operations started there several years ago.” Scientists in the natural gas industry claim that fracking has been going on for a long time without any of these effects being associated with natural gas drilling, but just recently fracking increased its water and sand amounts, while also adding harmful chemicals; creating a cautious cocktail. Earth quakes have even begun in the Dallas/Fort Worth region after fracking began there in 2008. There may not be complete proof that fracking causes earthquakes or detrimental effects to the landscape, but should we not be as cautious as possible when it comes to pushing chemicals into the ground that were never supposed to be there to begin with?

Eddington, S. (2011, April 20). Fracking Well Shutdown Extended As Researchers Study Link To Earthquakes In Arkansas. Huffington Post . Retrieved September 12, 2011, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/21/fracking-shutdown-earthquakes-arkansas_n_851930.html

Nelson, J. (2011, March 1). Does Gas Fracking Cause Earthquakes? . Watershed Sentinel – Environmental News Magazine from British Columbia, and the world! | Bi-monthly magazine.. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from http://www.watershedsentinel.ca/content/does-gas-fracking-cause-earthquakes

URBINA, I. (n.d.). Millions of Gallons of Hazardous Chemicals Injected Into Wells, Report Says – NYTimes.com.The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/science/earth/17gas.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=Congressional%2

Weaver, B. (2011, March 10). WV OFFICIALS SAY BRAXTON CO. QUAKES NOT RELATED TO DRILLING – Arkansas Officials Have Different View. Calhoun County West Virginia News – Hur Herald. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from http://www.hurherald.com/cgi-bin/db_scripts/articles?Action=user_view&db=hurheral

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