Natural gas is said to be one of the most popular forms of energy today. In the past, often
left undeveloped and wasted, it was once considered “unusable” and “worthless”, compared to oil. In order to try to break our country’s dependence on foreign oil supplies, we have begun to dip into our own natural gas supply. Natural gas is found underground, and is produced when trapped gas is released above ground. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a process that extracts natural gas from the ground. As harmless as the billion dollar producing oil companies would want us to believe, environmental groups, scientists, and average citizens have raised concerns about the negative impact of hydraulic fracking on the environment and surrounding communities.
Hydraulic fracking is used in the natural gas drilling booms, like the one in Louisiana. “Modern day hydraulic fracturing results from the marriage of two technologies: hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Although these technologies are not new, it was not until 2002 or 2003 that they were first combined” (Edwards and Oliver). “In a typical fracking operation, pressurized water, sand and chemicals are injected into shale rock formations to release trapped natural gas” (Edwards and Oliver). Since natural gas is trapped and then subsequently released from shale rock, thus the name has been given to large drilling locations such as the Haynesville Shale in Louisiana and the Barnette Shale in Texas. These drilling sites, often located in rural areas, have made the residents on whose land the drilling is occurring ,and the large drilling companies very wealthy. “Critics allege that the chemicals in fracking fluid pollute groundwater, cause cancer, and are responsible for a host of other health maladies, and that all fracking operations increase air pollution and overwhelm small communities” (Edwards and Oliver). As more and more natural gas locations are sprouting up so close to home, it makes sense to explore the risks proven to be associated with fracking.
Groundwater polluting of communities near natural gas drilling sites, has been linked to fracking. “At least 15 water-wells in Rosebud, Alberta, have gone bad since EnCana Corporation fracked into their aquifer in search of shale gas in 2004” (Nelson 25). By fracking into the aquifer, the chemicals used in the process undoubtedly contaminated the drinking water of the area. Nelson also reports of Rosebud resident, Jessica Ernst and her family’s experience with fracking. Ms. Ernst stated that Encana gas told her family that they would never fracture near her family’s aquifer. By 2005, Ms. Ernst says that her water started going bad, she was receiving horrible burns and rashes from showering, and her dogs refused to drink the water so that is when she began to pay attention (Nelson 25). It is a horrible thought that a person could get burnt taking a shower in their own home or not be able to provide their pets safe...