Hydraulic fracturing is highly controversial; whereas its proponents advocate the economic benefits of more extensively accessible hydrocarbons, opponents argue that the environmental impactsof fracking include the risks of contaminating ground water, depleting fresh water, degrading air quality, potentially triggering earthquakes, noise pollution, surface pollution, and the consequential hazards to public health and the environment. The benefits of reducing green house gas by replacing coal with natural gas and addressing the very real problem of climate change far outweigh the risks of hypothetical problems that alarmists have raised.
“But is hydraulic fracturing safe? A few clicks around the Internet might lead some to conclude it isn’t. But contrary to what you may have read in the chat rooms, no less an authority than the EPA has publicly stated that fracturing does not pose a significant threat to groundwater, with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently reinforcing that point to a committee of the U.S. Senate. It’s a finding that’s been corroborated by the U.S. Departments of Energy and the Interior, by countless state regulators, and by the Ground Water Protection Council, which recently launched a new nationwide database with information on the materials used in the fracturing process available on a searchable, well-by-well basis.” – Lee Fuller Vice President of Government Relations for the Independent Petroleum Association of America
“But while shale gas has been a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy economy, the use of hydraulic fracturing is under assault. Despite the fact that hydraulic fracturing has been employed for half a century at comparable depths of thousands of feet, opponents of natural gas insist that groundwater is now being contaminated. This claim, no matter how many times it is repeated, lacks substantive data to support its conclusions as both the national association of state groundwater agencies and the multistate governmental agency representing states’ oil and gas interests have found no evidence of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing fluids. Additionally, to assuage concerns about the content of fracturing fluids and to increase transparency, the industry has chosen to voluntarily disclose what additives are used at each well site via the FracFocus database.” – Daniel Simmons Director of State Affairs at the Institute for Energy Research
Opponents point to the number of articles showing the risk of fracking to groundwater, air pollution, and potentially dangerous earthquakes. However, none of these articles has shown any substantiative data showing this has occurred despite 65 years of fracking. There is one case of water pollution in Pennsylvania, but it was not related to the fracking process. There are several papers questionably published and evidence that Russia has been funding opposition to fracking to protect their economy.
With climate change the most important challenge in energy production, environmental activists need to get their priorities straight. Natural gas from fracked wells replacing coal as fuel leads to a net reduction of green house gas production.