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What the frack will stop hydrofracking?
by Peter Daining on December 6, 2009
A new technique for retrieving natural gas from deep underground known has hydrofracking is looked at as the savior of energy companies and as a dangerous, must-avoid practice by environmental groups.
The truth? Well, unfortunately the truth hasn’t emerged on exactly how this technique will effect the earth and our drinking water. It’s up to the government to stop companies while researches – and not to mention the public – can come to some consensus on the possible threat here.
The hydrofracking – or hydraulic fracturing - process entails mixing water, sand and chemicals and sending the concoction under high pressure deep underground to create fractures in the rock. The fractures, it is thought, will release the much-sought-after natural gas looming under a large section of New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
But what else will hydrofracking do besides getting energy hogs closer to the elusive 400 trillion gallon reservoir? The jury is still out. The Syracuse Post-Standard reports the chemicals could simply sit in tanks or drainage ponds, which are prone to overflow and leads.
“I’m not sure there is anything they could do to make this process safe, said Ron Bishop, a chemistry professor at the State University College at Oneonta. Other impacts include fouling drinking water and diesel pollution from pumps, he added. A water supply in Pennsylvania is already thought to have been damaged by hydrofracking.
Although it must be tempting to hurry on something that could so obviously and directly help the economy during this tenuous time, precaution must be taken. At this point, it seems as though the government hasn’t quite got the handle on how to best regulate fracking, so it hasn’t. It’s justification is a 2004 study showing drinking water hadn’t been adversely affected by fracking.
The EPA was a much different organization in 2004, and Obama’s crew should definitely take another look at this issue.