What The Frack?
Americans consumes nearly twenty percent of the world’s energy. Traditionally America’s energy comes from fossil fuel, and a lot of people want it to remain that way. Fracking provides two-thirds of U.S. oil and natural gas, yet most people don’t really understand what fracking is and what it entails. Like many other issues there are two sides, there are arguments for and against fracking. Using fracking as a primary source of energy is will create jobs, lower gas prices, and allow the United States to be independent of foreign oil. However fracking has also been linked to increased seismic activity in areas with lots of fracking, renewable energy is a lot cheaper than it used to be, and fracking is trying to expand a shrinking industry.
Misconceptions Surrounding Fracking
People for fracking are not wrong in saying that fracking is a job creator, but these jobs may not last. Everyone wants a long lasting job to pay the bills or buy the new iPhone, job creators want long lasting jobs because it is good for the economy. In an ever shifting market it’s hard to say for sure what is and what isn’t a career that will stand the tests of time. This is why many people say that jobs in the oil industry are the right kind of jobs, because they have been around since the turn of the century and many expect them to remain that way. A lot of people think that clean renewable energy wouldn’t pan out because it would require consumers to change, something that people do not like to do. In recent years there has been a shift in the market that has led many people to look away from the use of fossil fuels. In the mid 2000’s when gas prices went through the roof a lot of people bought fuel efficient cars. With the increase in awareness regarding global warming humans have reached the conclusion that we need to change. This kind of thinking can be seen with Tesla, an electric car company, becoming more valuable than Ford. This demonstrates that people are willing to change given the option. The focus needs to shift towards the energy of the future, not the energy used to fuel the past.
When people think of cheap energy, coal and natural gas are usually the first things that come to mind. As of today this statement may be true, it might not remain that way because wind energy is catching up. The Price Of Power: chart listed below shows that cheapest fossil fuel cost 0.07 $/kW-hr, the cheapest renewable energy is not far behind at 0.07–0.20 $/kW-hr, and the second cheapest renewable energy source costs 0.125 $/kW-hr. The decline in the cost to produce energy from renewable sources means that fossil fuels may be out of a job. Given time a combination of renewable energies can be used to support our energy consuming country, Clean energy is on the rise.
According to the USGS fracking does not cause an increase in seismic activity. In the state of Oklahoma there were less than one hundred measurable tremors, but by 2015 there were almost one thousand tremors recorded. If injecting high pressured chemicals into the ground in order to break apart shale so it can be extracted isn’t the culprit, what is? The USGS states that they believe this increase in earthquakes is “caused by deep wastewater-disposal related to industrial activity”. This “deep wastewater-disposal” involves taking any fluid related to oil and gas drilling, including frack wastewater, and injecting it deep into the Earth. According to the EPA there are currently seven active deep injection wells just in the state of Pennsylvania and three other states have requested for a permit. These deep injection wells are believed to be the culprit behind this spike in seismic activity and they are specifically designed to dispose of fracking fluid as well as other chemicals, fracking does have a hand in these earthquakes.
What Do We Do?
We are content, at the moment, with the use of fossil fuels because it keeps gas prices down and has the least impact on our day to day life. Unfortunately this puts our future in jeopardy because we are messing with Earth’s climate. The upward trend in yearly temperatures speaks for itself. Clean renewable energy needs to be the future, there’s no way around it. Many steps will be required in order to get there. The first thing we need to do is to recognize that practices such as fracking do not produce clean energy. That can only come from renewable sources or biomasses. Fracking only perpetuates the world’s addiction on fossil fuels while also indirectly increases seismic activity, and creates chemicals that are almost impossible to dispose of in an ethical manner. Fracking is not as environmentally safe as most people believe.