EARTHWORKS: Fracking Infographic
On The Surface
The United States industrial complex is dependent on oil; almost all of the oil produced within the U.S stays within its borders. This massive dependency rules out toning down extraction. Fracking is a new extraction technology that has raised alarms on both sides of the political spectrum for its disastrous effects. Fracking is not a viable extraction method because of its devastating impact on the environment and on public health.
High Carbon Content
Not all oil is the same. A study by Jeremy Martin, for example, concluded that refinery emissions can vary by more than 5 times. Additionally, Martin’s study presented fracked oil as far dirtier than its opponents. The mix of sand, harsh fracking chemicals, and the high content of carbon found in fracked oil results in harmful pollutants that continue to damage the environment. As fracking continues to garner a larger foothold in American energy, it is likely that more refineries will begin to process this oil– exacerbating the issue.
Production Based Pollution
Fracking has revolutionized the oil industry, but this new revelation has also paved the way for disastrous effects. Its horizontal method runs the risk of cracking both the soil and sturdy bedrock. This destabilization leads to leakage of chemicals and oil into ground water sources. A report by Environment American stipulated that these leakages lead to an annual 280 billion gallons of toxic water waste. As these sites continue to be built closer to water sources, and new technologies allow for deeper extraction, the nation’s water supply will be in fraught.
Fracking is putting pressure upon the nation’s alternative energy sector via supply and demand. As fracking continues to become more efficient, the prices of oil will drop. This kills incentives to use oil-saving measures, such as public transportation. Typically in times of high prices, consumers turn to other options. Take for example the year 2012, where Minneapolis based Metro Transit saw some of the highest ridership in its history. This coincided with high gas prices, but with the recent plummet perpetuated by both new extraction methods and global shifts, ridership has fallen in the 2014-2015 season.
Fracking is not a good option for the U.S. Its enormous impact on the environment will continue to test public approval. But as long as gas prices stay low, little protest will take place, and fracking will remain popular.