Imagine once living in a quiet, scenic town and one day you wake up to loud, disrupting noise from traffic and machinery. One major issue that most are unaware of is the practice of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking or horizontal-drilling. Fracking is a gruesome process performed by gas companies to obtain natural or shale gas. Some people believe fracking is nearly harmless, but scientists and environmentalists have evidence to prove it is not only dangerous to the environment, but also to human beings.
Fracking is a process where gas companies drill about 8,000 feet below the earth to blast water, sand, and chemicals under enormous pressure. This intense pressure breaks apart the sedentary rock, much like a mini earthquake, and releases the gas. Fracking is currently happening in 28 states and land containing shale (fine-grained, sedimentary rock) is a prime target (“Stop Fracking Now”). The Marcellus Shale, located in the northeast, holds a large portion of natural gas in the United States. This is the foundation of New York State and any fracking process done here not only jeopardizes waterways and pollutes the air, but also disrupts nearby ecosystems.
Pollution of Water
Humans have a finite amount of water available on planet Earth. The amount of water Earth has today compared to 100 years ago, is relatively the same, but the only difference is that we are polluting it more and more. Up to eight million gallons of water may be used to frack a well and 40-70 percent of that stays underground. The water containing fracking chemicals is left underground to fill the spaces in the fractured rocks and may eventually flow into the local ground-water system, making it unsafe for drinking (Spooner 331).
About two years ago in Pavillion, Wyoming, a nearby well was contaminated, endangering the lives of others. Louis Meeks talks about how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put a warning on the consumption and use of drinking water. Families were able to use the water for household tasks and showering, but in order to avoid explosions they were urged to use fans for ventilation. Why must families suffer because of the greedy and careless gas companies? Louis Meeks explains how gas companies take no responsibility for their actions and continue to ignore the needs of the community. “Yes we need gas, but these people aren’t doing it right. They are raping the land and poisoning the water” (Meeks). Fracking directly affects the water in a given ecosystem, but do not forget how this practice affects air quality too.
Similarly, fracking negatively affects the air quality, resulting in an increase of air pollution. Fracking brings urban-style air pollution to the rural countryside (Steingraber, Chapter 10). The number of drilling rigs threatens air quality through the emission of unstable organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, such as methane. Near the drilling site there will be an increase in...