Hydraulic fracturing is a technique that’s been practiced in America for the past 60 years in natural gas well drilling, yet has come under criticism these last few years as landowners and special interest groups claim that it can contaminate drinking water and that it makes the entire drilling and production process more dangerous.
“Hydro fracking,” as the technique is often called, is a method of stimulating natural gas flow in a gas well by breaking up shale rock containing natural gas thousands of feet below surface using a high-pressure stream of fluids (mostly water) and sand.
Range Resources recently revealed the chemicals used in its fracking procedure. Approximately .04% percent of the solution is made of chemical additives deemed to be hazardous, but the concentration is far below the legal maximum limit.
Many landowners have claimed the chemicals have seeped into their drinking water and made them sick. There is considerable debate over the cause of these problems. Natural gas producers generally claim the contamination is due to faulty well casing, not the actual hydrofracking procedure.
Geologists say “fracturing fluids injected 5000 to 12000 feet underground can’t defy gravity and rock mechanics and migrate thousands of feet upward through solid rock,” but their financial interest draws skepticism.
Hydrofracking is singlehandedly responsible for turning around the decline in natural gas production, and is the only current means we have of making energy independence a reality. Yet it may come at the cost of our health.
What is your opinion? Does the procedure really cause contamination, and if so, is it worth it?