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Hydraulic Fracturing: Fracking Essay

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I became interested in hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking”, after watching the documentary Gasland II. It chronicled the experiences of those who inhabit areas in proximity to active fracking wells in Pennsylvania. Detailing how their lives had been affected by the drilling. Focusing primarily on water contamination and illnesses that potentially could be linked to the chemicals used in the drilling process. By the end, I had questions about the actual process and what chemicals were used. I was also left wondering about the existence of environment laws and monitoring, if any, which would have ensured the use of only substances safe for humans as well as the environment. Why would this process have been allowed if it truly has as dangerous as the film indicated? Research would be necessary to understand the overall process of fracking, how contamination might occur, and what seemed to be the absence of safeguards that would have prevented the contamination in the first place.
Fracking is defined as the process of stimulating a natural gas or geothermal energy wells to maximize extraction of the resource. Unfortunately, the process is more complicated than the definition indicates. It starts with thousands of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals, called fracking fluid, which are injected under-pressure into drilling holes. This causes small fractures in the shale rock formation which are located a mile or more underground. When the pressure is released and the fluid is removed, the small grains hold open the fractures, thus allow the gas to escape and be extracted. Research indicates that some of the chemicals used are carcinogenic in nature, while some remain a mystery due to the privilege of ...


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..., Rob. "Frackonomics." Dollars & Sense. Ebsco Host, July-Aug. 2013. Web. 15 Feb. 2014. .
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United States. Enviornmental Protection Agency. National Enforcement. Enviornmental Protection Agency. Epa2.gov, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. .
United States. US House of Representatives. Committee on Energy and Commerce. Committtee on Energy and Commerce. US House of Representatives, 16 Apr. 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2014. .






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