Fracking is yet another charged issue in the United States. If every political issue were a dollar, we’d be able to pay off our national debt twice over, and still have enough to fund NASA. Hyperbole aside, fracking is an incredibly serious issue. It’s very fundamental and reflective of the eternal environmental argument: economy vs. conservation. Environmentalists argue that no amount of economic growth is worth irreversible damage to our own environment and capitalistic opposition tend to argue that no amount of conservation is worth the human suffering from economic slowdown. Now this report from Phys.org threatens that endless clash. But not really.
Fracking is the use of high pressure water, sand, and chemicals to blast rock and release gas. Natural gas. Advocates can now back their claims that it will reduce carbon emissions as the report linked states that U.S. emissions from energy production dropped 2.4% in 2011 and further down 8% in the first quarter of 2012. It’s linked to the switch from coal plants to natural gas. However, the Energy Information Administration noted that it can’t be entirely the root cause as there was also more switching to hydropower around the same time. There is also the element of more hybrid cars on the road and changing driving routines as a result of higher gas prices. The information is muddled but it is cogent enough to make the case that natural gas and fracking is a progressive measure.
I wouldn’t make that case but others would. To me, fracking is too steeped in the same economic interests as oil companies are. My hesitation to embrace fracking also comes from reports of possible bribes to scientists and pollution to water. Even famous celebrities like Mark Ruffalo (aka The Incredible Hulk) are getting into the water pollution from the undisclosed chemicals used in fracking. The report about a drop in emissions with fracking appended as a cause can only make the issue more complicated and harder to argue for either side.