So, in the news recently you might of seen a lot about fracking. Fracking is a process in which natural gas is obtained. Fracking is the drilling and injecting of fluid into the ground at very high pressures in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas which is then used as energy. Currently this process is occurring in the US. The current debate is whether or not this process should be used elsewhere in the world, including the UK. This blog post would be utterly biased if I just listed the negatives so both sides of the argument will be looked at. So what are the benefits of fracking? Well, studies show that Carbon Dioxide emissions in the US are the lowest they have been since 1992, while the growth of the economy is up 60%. Energy consumption in the US has also increased by 14%. The other obvious benefit is that jobs are created, however these jobs are highly skilled and need a lot of training, so the average person who lives beside a fracking site will not benefit. This is all well and good, as the energy companies are benefiting, but the gas prices are still increasing, so home owners are not seeing the benefit. So the negatives? Each well (where the fracking takes place) needs 400 tanker trucks to carry both supplies and water to and from the site. It also takes between 1-8 million gallons of water per site, I do understand that there is a huge range here. 600 different chemicals are needed, these include both toxins and carcinogens (chemicals linked to cancer) Fracking needs 40,000 gallons of these chemicals per site. The chemicals that are present underground are leached out into groundwater causing contamination. It has been seen that Methane is 17x higher in wells that are located beside fracking sites. 1000 cases of water contamination have been reported, some causing neurological, respiratory and sensory damage. In the final process only 30-50% of fracturing fluid is retrieved from underground, the rest is left to evaporate, however VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) are released into the atmosphere as the fluid evaporates causing acid rain and contaminated air.
This argument is well debated and well looked into, the technology is there to start fracking in the UK, but human health and safety should come before the pockets of the energy companies, right? We'll soon see.
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