I am not saying that all oil production should be stopped, but that we must weigh the benefits of dangerous extraction methods, such as fracking, against the costs to our environment. Regardless of one's views on environmental protection, the fact remains that petrochemicals are necessary in our society and without them, our economy and transportation infrastructure would grind to a halt. On the other hand, we must protect the environment and not allow the economic interests of a few, albeit a minority which has captured vast portions of our economy, to reign supreme and let them strip mine the country.
Fracking is a very dangerous, yet increasingly common practice in the United States. The general idea behind fracking is to pump massive amounts of fracking chemicals into the earth where there are oil shales; these shales break apart and release the oil captured within their layers (Oil shales: imagine a layer cake, where the oil is the icing between layers of cake). Once the oil is released from the shale, it can be extracted, transported and refined into a usable form. The fracking process is basically giving the earth a giant, chemical enema in order to get otherwise un-extractable oil
The first problem with fracking is that the chemicals used to break apart the oil shales are not regulated or even disclosed to the public or the government. Due to their stranglehold on our politicians, the oil companies are able to pump thousands of gallons of undisclosed chemicals into the earth with only the need to assert that these chemicals are harmless. Gee, I wonder if a company would be willing to lie to the government and public about the toxicity of their products in order to make billions of dollars in profit (Tobacco, pesticides, etc.)?
The second problem with fracking is the affect that fracking has upon humans who live in the vicinity of the process. There are far higher rates of cancer, birth defect, and severe degenerative illnesses in areas where fracking has been employed. Without disclosure of just what fracking fluid is, there can be no causal linking between the process and the severe consequences on the local population, thus there is no accountability for the companies. They would have us believe that the people who live in the vicinity of their process, whether in New York or Tennessee, are just simply unlucky and that this unluckiness just happened to occur when the fracking started.
The third problem with fracking is the affect that it has on the environment. Despite the assertions by the oil companies that fracking fluid is safe, all evidence points to the fact that it is unbelievably toxic to the environment. We don't know the full scope of the potential for environmental damage by fracking other than the fact that the potential is somewhere between large and unprecedented.
The following video is the movie, Gasland. This documentary, written and directed by Joshua Fox, is an amazing view into the affects of hydraulic fracturing on those around it. While watching this movie, I would like everybody to keep in mind: What you see here are the untold consequences of the policies that are being discussed when you hear about politicians talk about "business friendly" energy policies. If you live over oil shales and the government remains in the clutches of big oil, this could be your neighborhood and the people.
- Would you live next to a fracking field?
- What is the value of oil and economic gain if you destroy the planet by making it uninhabitable?