To frack or not to frack is the question, and liberals would like everyone to be against fracking based on arguments that the practice destroys the environment. Unfortunately, this emotional and sensational appeal is made by environmentalists who twist the facts to further their anti-civilization agenda.1
One case in point is in gas-rich Pennsylvania. In October 2011, tests of drinking water were conducted in the state to determine if hydraulic fracturing was contaminating well water. The tests found that there were high levels of methane in water within one half mile of gas wells resulting in headlines that read: Fracking is an Environmental Hazard
What the media did not report, was that the same high levels of methane were found in wells far away from any drilling in the same region. Furthermore, no baseline had been established to determine if gas levels actually went up after hydraulic fracturing had taken place.
Environmentalists have unsubstantiated concerns of leakage making wild claims that hydraulic fracturing causes pollution by releasing gases from fractured rock, or by leaking chemicals from damaged well casings. They claim these gasses and chemicals make their way into the aquifer.
As yet there is not one case that shows any of the chemicals have ever made the mile-long journey up into the aquifer, and current studies do not show any increase of methane in the water table.2 This of course needs continuous observation in order to determine the long-term effects. However, preliminary results are largely in favor of hydraulic fracturing.
The U.S. Department of Energy released a report in 2009 in conjunction with the Ground Water Protection Council with this conclusion: “Based on over sixty years of practical application and a lack of evidence to the contrary, there is nothing to indicate that when coupled with appropriate well construction; the practice of hydraulic fracturing in deep formations endangers ground water. There is also a lack of demonstrated evidence that hydraulic fracturing conducted in many shallower formations presents a substantial risk of endangerment to ground water.” (p. 39)
As for leaking chemicals themselves, the toxic cocktail that has environmentalists up in arms is a benign mixture of 90% water, 9.5% sand and 0.5% surfactants similar to table salt or the citric acid found in orange juice that one has with breakfast in the morning.
In a landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing done by the Department of Energy, fluids used in the drilling process were tagged with unique chemical markers and injected more than 8,000 feet below the surface. The monitoring zone was 3,000 feet above the drill site and no indication of the markers has been observed for over a year with the final report expected at the end of 2013.3
What is the end result of allowing the free market to explore a safe method of securing natural resources versus suffocating drilling regulations? America now has a cleaner environment and a less expensive fuel. Hydraulic fracturing has opened up shale gas drilling in the U.S. and has lowered the wholesale price of natural gas 57 percent in less than four years, thus making it less expensive to burn than coal. America now exports its abundant natural gas and does not need to import as much oil.
In addition to lowering the cost of natural gas by 86 percent from its all time high in 2008, carbon-dioxide emissions in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest level in twenty years according to information collected by the U.S. Energy Information Agency. In the first five months of 2012, CO2 emissions had declined by more than 14 percent from their peak in 2007, which equals 800 million tons. This is primarily due to the use of natural gas as opposed to coal.
Of recent, coal has accounted for 37 percent of America’s electricity, natural gas 30 percent and nuclear fuel 19 percent. Meanwhile back at the green ranch, liberal efforts promoting the over-blown wind power supply, generate less than 3 percent of our nation’s electricity and solar power even less.
It appears that the hot air promoting wind and solar energy has contributed little to reducing energy costs and pollution. Evidence clearly demonstrates that lower fuel costs and a cleaner environment have been achieved by the free market and private sector technology, not government mandates. Fracking is a win-win situation that America cannot afford to lose.