|Why I Oppose Fracking|
My main concern with Fracking comes down to the harm it does to the environment, as well as the potential harm it could do to people. This section is quite long, sorry; I've tried to split it down a bit into sections for ease of reading.
Ground water contamination has happened, although not commonly -Ground Water Contaminated (well how common does it need to be once too often in my books) - and while some issues, methane in the water have been proven it is unknown to what extent other chemicals will leech into our drinking water or waterways.
It is argued that the actual process of fracking doesn't cause this water contamination, instead the blame is laid at the feet of the gas and oil wells themselves (or rather the casings), but surely that is still all part of the process? The more wells then greater the risk of leaks and contamination. Although it does depend on what you read, this article - Fracking Water Contamination Casing - suggests that the gas travels up outside of the concreted bore hole and leaks into the water supply, but surely this must be classed as part of the fracking process?
Two opposing arguments one recently in the Telegraph (now removed) -
Fracking doesn't contaminate water wells and a while ago in on the BBC - Fracking Contaminates water show me one thing, we just do not know what the effects will be over time (in the course of around a year the blame changed from fracking itself to wells, who is to say next year it won’t be back to fracking).
In the US currently approximately 72 trillion gallons of water and 360 billion gallons of chemicals are used (or will be used in the course of running their 500000 wells) while UK drilling will be less than that the water all has to end up somewhere, to assume we will be able to contain all that waste is a massive assumption, do we really want to run the risk of that type of mix ending up in our water ways or worse our drinking water?
Peoples health near drilling sites can and has been affected in various ways, even if you takeout the water related issues above there is a provable increase in the amount of harmful diesel fumes in the air, this comes from the drilling site itself and the hundreds (if not thousands) of trucks needed to bring in equipment, water and chemicals (see below for estimated trucks needed). In fact it is estimated that getting a drill site going is more intense than conventional gas or oil extraction, with more air pollutants and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) being produced. This has lead to many people living near fracking sites in the US have complained of various problems that have arisen since the wells moved in next door to them - Living Next to a Shale Gas Well.
Other health risks are potentially associated with nearby fracking; in fact studies have shown in the US that areas where spills have occurred (accidents happen remember) the chemicals released have had potential to mimic or block reproductive hormones – read more
Part of the issue is we just do not know enough about the chemicals used (this is true in the US I’m not sure about the UK as we are still in the early stages) as many companies class them as a trade secret that they do not want competitors knowing, so when you have issues like a number of infant deaths spiking in an area with large amounts of fracking wells - Dead Babies Near Oil Drilling Site - it could be due to the fracking industry or it could just an anomaly (all be it a horrific one), more research is needed, and it is this that worries me the most, sometimes there is not enough research before we say yes to a practice in the UK (or the world for that matter).
Further reading on health issues can be found at: http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/hydrofracking_w.html
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