Fracking Can’t Pollute Drinking Water
Bernie Sanders contends that fracking pollutes drinking water and must be stopped. Bernie might be surprised to learn that 90% of all natural gas wells in the United States since 1949 have utilized fracking — I assumed it was something new as well. So I decided to do a little research to find out the truth. What I found was compelling —as it turns out it is literally impossible for fracking to impact drinking water through hydraulic or compressed air fracking.
According to the EPA, since 1949 there have been 2 million frack treatments without a single reported case of treatments polluting a water aquifer. This is fairly easy to understand since most underground water can be found at depths between 100 and 1,000 feet, while most fracking occurs between 6,000 and 10,000 feet. And as Peter Glover explains, “Claims of ‘migration’ between the shale gas layers and water aquifers due to fracking or for any other reason, are patently absurd as the gas would have to pass through millions of tons of impermeable rock. If the rock was that porous, neither the water nor the gas would have been there in the first place.”
Most people (like me and Bernie) don’t really know how fracking works. The reality is that when an engineer creates a ‘frack’ he wants to keep it small — around 100 feet to prevent a loss of production. Creating HUGE fractures 1000’s of feet or more would be impossible even with the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Just a thousand feet of bedrock weights more than a billion tons and is impermeable — you need drill bits and months to get through it — a relatively small amount of water or compressed air pumped into a gas well simply can’t move that much rock. Period.
The real issue is fossil fuel. The left wants us to stop using it — that is worthy debate, but making up stuff about fracking is just silly.
Update: after I posted this to twitter a Bernie supporter pointed to this article refuting my claim that fracking can’t pollute drinking water:
The report also pointed out the declining amount of water that could be available for drinking purposes due to extended…ecowatch.com
The EPA report cited in the article specifically concluded that, “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms [methods of possible pollution] have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” The report cited the biggest risk to drinking water from fracking was a spill of wastewater into reservoirs or lakes. Of course this is the same risk that is present WITHOUT fracking.
Tanker trucks full of [insert anything toxic] overturned near drinking water and YES, of course, you’re going to get pollution. The biggest problem the EPA found with fracking was the massive amount of water it required — not the the risk of pollution. At the end of the day the EPA does not contend (nor does anyone familiar with fracking) that creating fractures thousands of feet below the surface of the earth causes pollution of our underground drinking water. It is STILL impossible. Period.