By: Johnathan Mize
THE GOOD: Fracking's positives are many. According to ourworldindata.org, the US, despite leaving the Paris climate accords, dropped its CO2 emissions from 5.42 Billion tons in 2015 to 5.27 Billion tons. In contrast, during the same period both France and Germany increased their CO2 emissions. The US was able to accomplish this by replacing coal and oil powered power plants to natural gas powered power plants, which produce as much reliable power but produce just as much if not more power. Not only that, but it has decreased the United States reliance on genocidal Nations like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It has also breathed new life into desiccated States like Pennsylvania that were destroyed by horrific trade treaties that still operated on the "cash for allies" foreign policy the United States used since World War 2. There is a very valid argument that Fracking is far healthier for the Earth using traditional oil powered facilities. Just getting oil from the Middle East puts a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. However, it's not all sunshine and roses.
THE BAD: It still makes CO2 and then there are the problems specifically with Fracking. First there are the Earthquakes. As one might imagine, forcing pressurized fluids into fractured rocks could cause unfortunate side effects for the surrounding rock, and everything on top of it. Then on top of that, said pressurized water is now contaminated, and is under pressure has two options, come back up or find a new place to force its way somewhere new, all too often an aquifer, which many people in the rural regions where fracking takes place. This can lead to illness as you can end up drinking oil particulates.
Why we should care? We need to have a real, nonpartisan discussion about fracking in the United States. The ability to replace extremely dirty oil and even more so coal with far less destructive natural gas could buy the world the time it needs for a more permanent solution to climate change.
The Hill article above by JOHN HOFMEISTER AND PAUL SULLIVAN provided valid criticism to a fracking ban that I believe needs to be addressed. I can agree that a shock therapy approach, even deadly for those parts of the country that get very cold, and I can even concede that switching right now would not only devastate our economy but give power to many bad actors around the world. However, fracking is a problem that still needs to be addressed. A move towards something like nuclear power should be the long term goal. We need to start removing CO2 from the environment where we can and however we can. I have to mention that there is an argument that using Natural Gas to replace oil and coal will dramatically improve the environment. Not to mention the fact that the data shows that this is indeed the case as I mentioned before.
Science in Action.
Mark Schrope is a researcher at Director at Schmidt Marine.
The work of Mark Schrope, among others, goes to great lengths to show all of the problems with fracking. They focus predominantly on the possibility of water contamination. This is because most fracking is done in rural areas where wells are the predominant water source. They note that and EPA administrator by the name of Lisa Jackson stated “In no case have we made a definitive determination that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater.” which lends the article credit as it steel man's the opposing argument. He makes a valid point in that small cracks often form bigger cracks which could cause an unwanted fluid exchange. Articles like this are important because rather than portraying the other side as a dehumanized enemy only to be destroyed, it portrays them as a human rival to be persuaded and convinced, something all to rare in the modern day.