Start with a visual aid and a definition.
Fracking is responsible for a huge economic boom through technology that significantly boosts the harvest of natural gas. Meanwhile, the process of hydraulic fracturing receives plenty of bad press for its potential to do lasting environmental damage.
Before taking up your own position on this controversial issue, you should begin with an understanding that “fracking” is not that epithet commonly heard on the hit scifi series Battlestar Galactica.
However, opponents of this hydraulic process often adopt the fictional definition to voice very real environmental concerns.
Make sure you don’t belong to that 63% of America who can’t actually explain this weird term. Once you can articulate the process, you’ll find plenty of ammo to support your position, regardless of where you stand on the controversy.
Big ups to TreeHugger for the original graphic below, and the content examining the environmental implications for this method of harvesting natural gas.
For the record, U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce continues to advocate for renewable energy sources which don’t contribute to global warming or guarantee a legacy of so much environmental damage.
Fracking, the popular abbreviation for hydraulic fracturing, is a technique which injects highly-pressurized fluid into a well to split the rock and allow access to natural gas trapped within.
Energy companies, driven in no small part by dwindling reserves of easy-to-access fossil fuels, are increasingly turning to so-called unconventional sources of fossil fuels. Shale gas is one of these; and hydraulic fracturing promises to open up access to what is claimed to be vast to sources of natural gas, and profits.
National governments too, driven by a desire for greater energy independence, want access to these reserves of natural gas.
But big questions remain about the environmental safety of fracking: Will fracking cause more earthquakes? Will the chemicals used contaminate drinking water? What will be the impact on small farms? Does natural gas obtained by fracking have similar greenhouse gas emissions to other natural gas?
Energy companies downplay all of these concerns. Politicians focus on energy independence. Environmentalists urge caution. Whatever side you’re on, fracking is likely to remain an issue in the forefront of energy policy for some time.
- Fracking moratorium advances in California Legislature (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Half of America Doesn’t Really Know What Fracking Is (treehugger.com)
- Professors argue against fracking (upi.com)
- Oh, great: More fracking rules are definitely happening by 2013 (hotair.com)
- $100 Billion in Consumer Surplus from Fracking (marginalrevolution.com)
- Viewpoints: New report helps separate the frack from the fiction (sacbee.com)
- 63% of Americans Aren’t Sure What Fracking Is (theatlanticwire.com)