Image Source: foodandwaterwatch.org
Hydraulic fracturing or Hydrofracking, also spelled fracing or fraccing, is defined as the process of drilling and injecting fluid at a high pressure to fracture shale rocks underneath the Earth’s surface in order to release trapped gas or crude oil.
While “fracking” helps the natural gas and the petroleum industries bring more product to the market as a whole, it has generated much controversy over its use. The process raises grave environmental concerns and health risks caused by chemicals used in fracking fluid, including known carcinogens and toxins.
Over 1,000 cases of water contamination have been documented next to areas of fracking sites as well as sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage caused by ingestion of polluted water has also been reported. However, oil firms manage to get away with it.
In August, a gag order was imposed on two children from Pennsylvania under a settlement reached by their parents with a leading oil and gas company. The family had previously reported that major industrial operations adjacent to their property contaminated their water supply, caused burning eyes, sore throats and headaches.
In 2009, “Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act” aka the FRAC Act was introduced to the United States Congress to define hydraulic fracturing as a federally regulated activity under the Safe Drinking Water Act , requiring oil firms to be transparent about all the chemical additives used in the process.
The proposal was re-introduced in 2011, however, Congress has not passed the FRAC Act as of yet.
Image Source: PLOS.org
Fracking is also widely considered as a cause of earthquakes. In September this year, an investigation published in Geophysical Research Letters confirmed that an oil drilling project in Pennsylvania and Ohio led to seismological instability.
“Disposal of the wastewater generated by fracking and by other types of oil and gas production is the ‘focal point’ for research into what scientists call ‘induced’ earthquakes,” a Reuters report stated released on Tuesday.
While the U.S. government seeks “regulation” of the controversial technology, environmentalists want to ban the practice altogether.
“Regulations alone won’t protect us from this toxic, polluting process—we need to ban fracking now.”
Another environmental organization Food & Water Watch says:
“The industry enjoys exemptions from key federal legislation protecting our air and water, thanks to aggressive lobbying and cozy relationships with our federal decision makers. Plus, the industry is aggressively clamping down on local and state efforts to regulate fracking by buying influence and even bringing lawsuits to stop them from being implemented. That’s why fracking can’t be made safer through government oversight or regulations.”
Even celebrities are now joining the cause and asking their fans to tweet President Barack Obama to ban fracking with hashtags #BanFrackingNow and #WhatTheFrack.
Do you think Fracking should be banned and not just regulated? You can share your opinion in the comments section below.
(HT: Dangers Of Fracking)