The Huge Downside to Fracking

Posted February 19, 2014 at 7:44am

The Week : “The oil and natural gas boom brought on by innovations in fracking is the biggest development in U.S. energy in years. Politicians across the ideological spectrum have hailed a drilling technology that could put the U.S. on a course to energy independence, with President Obama using his State of the Union speech in January to praise natural gas as a ‘bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.'”  

“Indeed, fracking has caused major economic booms in places like North Dakota and southern Texas, which are awash in a sea of drilling money. The U.S. market is swamped with cheap natural gas, and even some environmentalists have lauded the fracking boom, largely because natural gas tends to displace coal, a much dirtier fuel that is both polluting our air and driving climate change.”  

“However, there are reasons to be skeptical of this success story. The environmental benefits of natural gas are critically dependent on the security of pipelines and generators involved in fracking, which entails shooting a slurry of chemicals into shale rock, an intensive process that can unleash many dangerous pollutants and chemicals if drillers aren’t responsible.”