Fracking is a process of mining that involves injecting high-pressure water into areas that are being mined in order to open up or expand existing fissures. It is used to give the minerals a passage to escape, thus allowing for easier extraction of minerals from deep within the earth. It is especially popular in the energy industry, where it is used in the extraction of oil and natural gas. Touted as a revolutionary extraction method, it has many faults that give a reason for the listing of 21+ reasons for the banning of fracking.
Fracking kills, and it doesn’t just kill us. It kills the land, nature and, eventually, the whole world.
- 17+ Compelling Reasons to Ban Fracking Today
- 1. Seismic disturbance
- 2. Water pollution
- 3. Use of hazardous chemicals
- 4. Surface pollution
- 5. Oil spill damage
- 6. Loss of water
- 7. Water pollution by gas
- 8. Gas pollution
- 9. Eye Sore
- 10. The soaring need for alternative fuel
- 11. Higher insurance premiums
- 12. Reduced property values
- 13. Noise pollution
- 14. Increased radon presence
- 15. Elevated mining of related materials
- 16. Quid pro Quo between legislation and big oil
- 17. The long term effects and grave
- 18. Toxic, radioactive wastewater
- 19. Fracking Displaces Poor Communities
- 20. Fracking Leads to Exploitation of Immigrant Workers
- 21. Fracking Is Responsible for Record Droughts
- 22. Fracking Exacerbates Climate Change
- 23. Other towns are banning it too
17+ Compelling Reasons to Ban Fracking Today
1. Seismic disturbance
Fracking’s most controversial disadvantage is that it has been linked to seismic activities. The action of pumping high-pressure water into the earth’s crust leads to the creation of new fissures and fault lines. Pressures placed on the newly formed fissures by the weight above causes shifts in the earth’s crust that results in earthquakes and other seismic activity. This can destabilize the ground in a region, causing potential catastrophic failures of drilling rigs. This was confirmed by a U.S. Geological Survey.
2. Water pollution
Chemicals are usually added to the water along with abrasive agents such as sand so as to enable the high-pressure water to cut into the fissures. These materials add foreign matter to the rock that eventually seeps into the groundwater, polluting the large, freshwater underground tables with elements of unclean waste from the fracking process. This can ultimately translate into the pollution of rivers that source water from these underground springs.
3. Use of hazardous chemicals
Fracking requires the use of chemicals, which include additives of biocide, surfactants, stabilizers and polymeric lubricants. In the U.S., this is particularly a challenge as most states do not require the companies to share what kind of chemicals they use.
It, therefore, means that companies can use hazardous chemicals, and people would never know. Some of these chemicals have been said to be carcinogenic in nature. The resulting effects on both people and the population can be devastating.
4. Surface pollution
The effluent used in fracking can sometimes make it back to the surface. It is usually left unprocessed in large pits where it slowly evaporates. What is left behind is slurry, which contains dangerous chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which adversely affect the individuals who live next to them.
According to a Colorado Department of Environmental and Occupational Health study, women who live next to fracking sites are 30 percent more likely to give birth to children who suffer from congenital heart diseases.
5. Oil spill damage
There were over 1000 oil spills reported in North Dakota in the year 2011. These were as a result of accidents transporting oil. The bursting of an ExxonMobil pipeline led to the loss of 42,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River. This led to large environmental destruction. These cases of environmental pollution are all instigated by the practice of fracking.
6. Loss of water
Statistically, 90 percent of the water that is pumped out during fracking does not return to the surface. This means that after a while, the source of fracking water runs dry. Accordingly, it has caused problems in water-stressed regions that are denied water in order to supply the fracking process because the water is lost in the process, an example being Barnhart, Texas. This may hinder agricultural activities as well as normal living conditions of those who live next to fracking sites.
7. Water pollution by gas
One challenge with the extraction of resources from underground sources is the difficulty experienced in trying to control the movement. Fracking has been known to cause contamination of drinking water when methane and other natural gases find their way into water piping that holds drinking water. Methane can also find its way into acquirers, which serve as drinking water storage sites. This makes the water impossible to consume and destroys the water reserves that have been contaminated.
8. Gas pollution
Methane extraction is hard to control, and usually, this leads to leakage. This is particularly bad as methane gas is a notoriously harmful greenhouse gas whose effects are very strong. This means that increased fracking leads to increased levels of greenhouse gases escaping into the atmosphere, where they lead to a general temperature increase associated with climate change.
9. Eye Sore
Fracking sites are generally regarded as eyesores wherever they appear. This is especially true when the equipment are placed in regions where there is a dense human population or when they appear close to housing estates. They are of no aesthetic value and contribute to a greater chance of pollution in a region where they are situated as well, leading to damage to air quality, which contributes to the soreness of the eyes.
10. The soaring need for alternative fuel
Fracking was a revolutionary process that breathed new life into the oil exploration and drilling process. Over the past 7 years, it has almost doubled the amount of oil drilled in the USA as well as being the reason why oil prices in the U.S. are lower than in Europe. However, this has meant that there has been less incentive for governments to look into alternative fuel sources.
11. Higher insurance premiums
In a UK report titled Shale Gas Rural Economy Impact, it has been revealed that properties within a one-five mile radius of fracking operations will have to pay higher insurance costs. This means that the cost of fracking will be unfairly felt even by those who do not support it. This is in connection with the adverse effects that fracking has had in the U.S. where there have been links between fracking and pollution.
12. Reduced property values
Fracking has also led to reduced property values in the regions that surround the sites of production. A UK report estimates that for properties that are within a mile of the well, the expected reduction of value is at about 7 percent. This could translate into backlash from people who would not like to see the value of their property drop.
13. Noise pollution
Fracking has been linked with increased noise pollution in regions where the industry takes off. This is especially disconcerting when it happens in rural areas. The noise pollution can increase the amount of stress that the industry places on the natural environment, such as on birds and animals alike. It also disturbs the tranquility of those regions with an increase in traffic from machinery used to operate the rig as well as the rig itself.
14. Increased radon presence
A study by Johns Hopkins University found that in regions (both suburban and rural) where fracking wells were being drilled, there was an overall 39 percent increase in the radon concentration within homes compared to regions without fracking wells. This is particularly bad as radon is the second largest cause of lung cancer after smoking, with 21,000 lung cancer deaths being associated with radon.
As fracking needs the use of silica as an abrasive agent, there has been an increased demand in the amount of silica mined in recent years. Mining of the sand to source silica has led to increased air pollution sustained by increased dust presence. This has caused an increase in lung-related diseases among individuals who live close to the mines. Diseases such as asthma and bronchitis are particularly on the rise in such regions.
16. Quid pro Quo between legislation and big oil
There has been an established nature of litigation hindrance to federal laws that seek to regulate fracking by individuals at the state level. This is because the oil and gas industry actively lobbies against laws that hinder fracking by making big donations to the campaign funds of lawmakers at the senate level in order to ensure that laws against fracking do not pass. This has hindered the legal system by having these cooperation place undue influence on the process of lawmaking to favor their selfish interests.
17. The long term effects and grave
Proponents of fracking argue that the industry creates new jobs for people as well as providing a cheaper way of drilling for oil that is both cheaper and more energy-efficient. However, these proponents do not consider the fact that they are only short term goals that do not consider the long term adverse environmental effects caused by fracking. The short term gains associated with fracking do not justify the long term challenges and problems with regards to environmental pollution.
18. Toxic, radioactive wastewater
The chemically treated water that is used in fracking well returns to the surface as wastewater. Other than original toxic fracking fluids, highly hazardous underground contaminants and radioactive materials are brought to the surface. These chemicals can cause cancer, disrupt the respiratory, endocrine, nervous, cardiovascular system, affect immunity and sensory organs.
19. Fracking Displaces Poor Communities
The Marcellus Shale, Pennsylvania, is home to thousands of fracking operations. The companies keep on coming in to drill new wells and often displace entire communities of people, leaving them homeless and broke, forced to move for an out-of-state industry. The same happened in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, where 32 families in trailer park didn’t even know they were going to be evicted until they read about it in the Williamsport Gazette. Aqua America, a water company, dedicated to fracking, bought the piece of land that housed the trailer park, and families were finally forced to move. Construction has since begun where those 32 families used to live.
20. Fracking Leads to Exploitation of Immigrant Workers
Fracking companies drilling new wells looking to skimp on labor costs have been caught trucking in undocumented workers to give hard labor. These workers are often paid poverty wages and put in unsafe environments, with the underlying threat of deportation if they speak out about the insufficient pay and grueling working conditions.
One example is GPX, of Sealy, Texas, which was accused of trucking in undocumented workers to perform seismic and surface surveying in Pennsylvania. If GPX is found guilty of hiring undocumented immigrants, they face a $10 million fine and five years of probation on each of the 20 counts.
21. Fracking Is Responsible for Record Droughts
Each fracking project requires as much as 8 million gallons of water. In the U.S., there are 500,000 fracking sites that require a whopping 72 trillion gallons of water to maintain every fracking well. That’s more than half of the water in Lake Erie. When you deplete water supplies by the trillions of gallons, there has to be less water in the ground to continue the natural cycle of water. An interrupted water cycle means less water in the air causing fewer rain clouds, fewer crops, more deserts, and widespread social instability for the entire population.
In the meantime, states like Texas and California with huge and growing populations are experiencing exceptional drought conditions, causing food prices to increase as more crops and livestock die off. Towns along the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas observed 45 to 50 percent of total water usage come from fracking companies. California is facing extreme water shortages, given how little rain California has seen in recent years.
22. Fracking Exacerbates Climate Change
Fracking puts an exponential amount of greenhouse gases into the air. Each of America’s 500,000 gas wells requires 400 tanker trucks to carry water and supplies to and from the site, dumping tons of additional CO2 into the atmosphere daily. Methane, which traps even more sunlight in the atmosphere than CO2 and contributes even more to climate change, regularly leaks from fracking sites.
One recent study that linked fracking to climate change illustrated that fracking was even worse for the climate than coal, as investigative journalist Steve Horn reported for DeSmogBlog.
23. Other towns are banning it too
In the “birthplace of fracking” a town of Denton where they have lived with fracking since the late 2000s, they moved to pass legislation that bans fracking. This is despite alleged spending by the oil industry to the tune of 700,000 dollars to contest the decision. Other places that have banned fracking include the Netherlands, Scotland, France and large parts of Canada. In the U.S. the state of New York has also banned fracking, citing their reason as concern for the environment.