Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Myths about fracking

I have just come back from the Balcombe protest which is just round the corner from me and I am not sure that I agree with what is being said there.

Claim 1: Fracking will contaminate the underground water supply. Subsurface contamination from fracking is “almost” impossible. Fracking involves the injection of liquid 7,000 to 15,000 feet underground, far deeper than drinking water aquifers, which are often about 300 feet below the surface.

Claim 2: Fracking does lots of damage to the land surrounding a drilling rig. Drilling operations involve trucks, heavy equipment, and facilities to store waste and other by-products. However, any impact on the surface is easily remedied, and waste products are carefully disposed of. Increasingly, waste products are recycled for use in other wells or converted to distilled water.

Claim 3: Fracking causes earthquakes. Last year in America, Congress asked the National Research Council to study the relationship between fracking and earthquakes. Every year, there are about 14,450 naturally occurring earthquakes worldwide of magnitude 4.0 or greater. According to the National Research Council, just 154 earthquakes over the past 90 years have been the result of manmade activity. Of those, only 60 were in the United States, and nearly all were moderate to small. The council concluded that fracking is extremely unlikely to cause earthquakes.

Claim 4: Fracking needs to be regulated. Since it was introduced in the 1940s, fracking has been used to extract oil and gas in America more than a million times. During that time, fracking has been regulated at the state level and has an unimpeachable safety record. A study in 2004 by the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed fracking was safe.

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