Let’s get fracking….or not?

Ahh hydraulic fracturing… the latest controversy in the conversation on fossil fuels. Although it’s recently been the main bone of contention surrounding natural gas, hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, has actually been around since the 1940s. In fact, the non-profit news organization ProPublica finds that nine out of 10 natural gas wells use this process, in which large amounts of water, sand, and chemicals are injected into the ground at extremely high pressure to create “fractures” in order to access oil and gas deposits.

The newly created fractures, kept open via the injected sand mixture or so-called “proppants”, allow sluggish gas or oil to be collected from shale formations previously inaccessible through conventional extraction methods. However, there have been rising concerns about the health impacts of fracking fluids that remain underground or are not properly disposed of, potentially contaminating surrounding soil or sources of drinking water. In addition, the process requires enormous reserves of water and other important resources.

Everyone seems to have a strong opinion about fracking, and it can be difficult to find neutral information on the health concerns or environmental impacts. But we’ve dug up a great graphic on hydraulic fracturing here from ProPublica, and EPA has some useful information on their website.

What do you think….hydraulic fracturing, yay or nay?

fracking_graphic

*Graphic from ProPublica.org

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