April 16, 2014
Research Essay: Hydraulic Fracturing
In today’s world sources of energy are becoming increasingly more scarce which raises the question,” how will we obtain enough energy to sustain future generations?” Many experts believe that hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is one alternative that will create a clean source of energy to fuel tomorrow. However, with all alternatives, research needs to be done in the field to fully identify both the positives and negatives of using that specific option. Many people do not know what hydraulic fracturing is or how it is done. “Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, forces natural gas and crude oil out of ...view middle of the document...
Many others such as Kevin Hassett and AparnaMathur also believe that fracking can help solve some of our worst economic problems. “Fracking is often regarded as the best hope for a struggling economy.” (Hassett, Mathur 2) This quote shows that fracking is not only a possible answer for our energy problems but for our economic problems as well. Frackingwill create new jobs in the field of hydraulic fracturing and will only help our currently struggling economy. The price of natural gas is also easier for consumers. According to John Deutch “In the United States today, oil is three times as costly as natural gas for a given amount of energy” (Deutch 3). This means that if natural gas were to replace oil on a large scale that citizens would not have to pay as much at the pump or to heat their homes every winter. These two aspects of fracking show great promise for natural gas and could make a major difference in the homes of many Americans.
The other side to this debate is the environmental impact hydraulic fracturing may have. Many people are concerned about what the fracking process is doing to both our drinking water supplies and the air we breathe. One of the major reasons for global warming today is a large amount of carbon dioxide being pumped in to the air every day. Fracking does not produce as much carbon dioxide but may produce much more methane which can be equally as bad for the environment. This raises the point that hydraulic fracturing and the use of natural gas may not be as environmentally friendly and clean as once thought. “The data suggest that methane emissions from natural-gas operations could be substantially higher — and so be worse for global warming — than was thought.” (Gas and Air 131). This quote shows that more research needs to be done in the field to find more consistent numbers on pollution and fully understand the environmental effects. Air pollution is not the only concern though. Many people are worried about what fracking does to our water supply. “Fracking wastewater contains high levels of radioactivity and other contaminants that wastewater treatment plants have...