Hydraulic Fracking is the process of injecting high-pressure chemicals into the ground, so as to break up rock layers and release usable natural gas, petroleum, or water (UXL Encyclopedia of Science, 2015). Fracking is a widely controversial topic and supporters claim that it allows for access to natural resources that otherwise aren’t utilizable. The opposing side’s argument is based off environmental stability and human safety. For example, they claim that the high pressure chemicals used to release natural resources contain substances that remain in the ground and can contaminate drinking water and lead to earthquakes (UXL Encyclopedia of Science, 2015). Gas and oil companies claim that their chemicals do not adversely affect the environment and deny opposing claims.
Fracking works by blasting large amounts of sand, water, and other undisclosed chemicals into the ground in order to break through rocks and allow natural gasses to emerge (Kern, 2010). Reports claim that people in close proximity to wastewater wells can and have experienced induced earthquakes. Wastewater wells are located thousands of feet underground and serve the purpose of storing used drilling fluid. These wells can lead to induced earthquakes, which are man-made earthquakes triggered by the disruption of the Earth’s crust, the outermost layer of the planet.
There are countless reports of destruction caused by induced earthquakes, especially in Oklahoma. For example, a town near Perry, Oklahoma experienced a magnitude 4.1 earthquake as a result of the detrimental chemicals located in local wastewater wells underneath the ground, according to United States Geological Survey. Additionally, hydraulic fracturing can contaminate excessive amounts of drinking water for towns, making the supposedly clean water flammable and risking the health of many. The chemicals found in the contaminated drinking water can cause cancer in humans and kill plants and animals. In fact, a 2016 report from the EPA warns that fracking can have devastating effects on the country’s clean drinking water (Harvey, 2016). The documentary, “Gasland,” uncovers the devastating stories of how people’s safety and lives were affected by fracking (Fracking, 2017).
In conclusion, hydraulic fracking adversely affects the environmental stability of both the country and the world as a whole. While one side of the controversial topic claims that fracking is necessary to provide the nation with natural gases and ensures that it become less dependent on other countries, the human safety standpoint ultimately outweighs the political agenda of the federal government. Fracking is detrimental to both our land and people, which are the center of our nation. We cannot afford to sacrifice the safety of citizens for unnecessary resources because, ultimately, when there are no more people to utilize these resources, the fundamental purpose of fracking becomes moot.
Fracking. (2015). In A. H. Blackwell & E. Manar (Eds.), UXL Encyclopedia of Science (3rd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: UXL. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/ZLADPW485084623/SCIC?u=nysl_me_sfphs&xid=468a0cd5
Fracking. (2017, July 21). Gale Video Series. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/FTFCPP770071147/SCIC?u=nysl_me_sfphs&xid=ecbcc054
Harvey, C. (2016, December 13). Fracking can harm drinking water in 'some circumstances,' EPA says. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A473763173/SCIC?u=nysl_me_sfphs&xid=2a890e72
Kern, J. (2010, December 26). Dear EarthTalk: Can you explain what "fracking" is with regard to natural gas exploration and why it is controversial? EarthTalk: Questions & Answers About Our Environment. A Weekly Column. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A245885216/SCIC?u=nysl_me_sfphs&xid=5caafe8c