Issues in Fracking
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has always generated heated debates between its proponents and opponents regarding its costs and benefits from the social and economic perspectives. Three issues tend to dominate these debates. First is the issue of quality of air, health and electricity generation. It is argued that fracturing activities have resulted in new natural gas supplies. The steady supply has affected the generation and use of electricity. Although it is cleaner than coal, natural gas may have far-reaching health implications and affect the quality of air.
Second, opponents have claimed that the fracking process culminates in the emission of greenhouse gases. The leakage of methane from drilling wells is counterproductive relative to the benefits of the natural gas acquired from fracturing. The reductions in gas prices will lead to increased use of natural gas hence negate the ‘cleaner’ advantages of gas. Third is the issue of groundwater contamination. Studies have indicated that high-volume fracking is likely to pollute drinking water. Numerous complaints have been raised concerning the contamination of tap water with some water becoming inflammable.
When contemplating the future of fracking in the United States, the issue of water contamination is the most important in this scenario. The contamination of groundwater not only affects the population living around the drilling sites but also the drillers. Once the water is contaminated, it negates the benefits as it may culminate in loss of human and marine lives. The effect of methane to health is far-reaching. High methane concentrations in water may culminate in explosions and blowouts posing hazards to the environment. Despite these challenges, the benefits outweigh the risks. A wide range of measures is available for curbing dangerous scenarios. All is needed is safety precautions when fracking and adhering to policies that govern hydraulic fracturing.