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Fracking: A Pathway To Energy Independence

943 words - 4 pages

For decades, the United States has struggled to become energy independent. That is, creating enough energy to supply the needs of Americans instead of getting it from less stable countries overseas, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. However, recent technology advances in fracking have made the goal of energy independence realistic and achievable (Biello).
Fracking is a drilling technique used to extract natural gas from roughly a mile in the Earth's crust. Progress in mapping as well as mechanical equipment have given fracking companies the ability to drill efficiently and retrieve greater amounts of natural gas.
The process of fracking begins with drilling deep into the earth until workers ...view middle of the document...

Next, fracking has sparked debate in the political realm. Environmentalist fear waste will leak into nearby water supplies and contaminate the water table. Up to 600 chemicals are used during the drilling process. Chemicals such as lead, uranium, mercury, radium and methanol are just a few chemicals in question that could hurt the environment and those living within it. Another concern opponents have with the fracking process is the vast amount of resources needed to complete the job. There are 500,000 active wells in the United States. Fracking requires one to eight million gallons of water and approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals per well. Each well can be drilled roughly 18 times. When calculated correctly, fracking utilizes 72 trillion gallons of water and 360 billion gallons of chemicals – that is assuming each well uses the maximum amount of water and chemicals. Drill sites use large tankers to transport needed materials. It is estimated that tankers requires 400 trips to transfer the required sand, water and chemicals (Baizel). There is no challenging the potential environmental risks fracking has. Without environmental advocacy groups, drilling companies would have few incentives to drill “environmentally friendly.” Energy companies are working closely with such agencies to ensure safe drilling techniques.
Lastly, there are multiple benefits fracking brings to the economy. According to the EIA, Environmental Impact Association, the production of natural gas pumped $36 billion into the United State's economy in 2011. While numerous industries experienced a drop in revenue and employment due to the 2008 recession, the natural gas industry continued to rise. In 2003, there were 118,400 jobs created due to natural gas. As a result of an increase in technology and demand, employment opportunities expanded. In 2012, 198,400 jobs were held by the natural gas sector...

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