Hydro-Geological Fracturing: A Misunderstood “Terror” 2
Hydro-Geological Fracturing: A Misunderstood “Terror”
Hydro-geological fracturing is a specialized process by which energy companies drill into the earth and break up shale rock to release natural gas stores. This new process has boomed in the past 8 years and has become a multi-billion dollar business. This ingenuous process gives access to previously inaccessible energy reserves and is purported by the industry to be environmentally friendly. However, numerous other interest groups in New York State and a vocal segment of the general population have challenged that assertation citing frightening potential risks to our ground water aquifers, surface waters, and ecology. Alternately, supporters of this process can be found outside the drilling industry as well, in government and the public who want the industry to find a clean and green way to exploit rich natural domestic reserves. Is it currently safe to hydro-geologically fracture shale without polluting local surface water, groundwater, and wetlands? Hydro-geologic fracturing, also termed “fracing”, has been a controversial national issue for a few years and is now being heavily vetted in New York State. Fracing is perceived to either be our silver bullet to combat global warming and gain energy independence, or the implement of our complete environmental destruction. This debate between “pro-fracing” and “anti-fracing” forces can be enhanced if the risks and rewards of fracing are better understood. We will investigate how fracing locations are chosen and which
Hydro-Geological Fracturing: A Misunderstood “Terror” 3
sites are safest to minimize environmental risk. We will look at the fracing process to identify where the potential risks exist and what can be done to minimize them. Finally, we will consider the rewards of fracing for natural gas over mining for coal. This factual basis allows a fresh look at this break-through drilling...