Recently, opponents to the energy extraction process known as hydrofracking have based their position on six objections this activity, which has extraordinarily enriched many states, created vast employment opportunities, helped the environment by providing a clean source of fuel, and given the United States a desperately needed boost towards energy independence.
First, they describe a threat to potable water, mostly based on potential spills and other possible accidents resulting from hurricanes and other problems. Independent research and experience indicates otherwise, fortunately. A far more realistic threat to our drinking water comes from leaked and spilled oil and antifreeze from vehicles on our roadways. If we were to follow the extremists criteria, we would be forced to close down not only fracking in those states where it occurs but also a major portion of the roads throughout America. The writer describes myths about radioactivity that have been completely proven to be false.
Second, fracking is criticized because many of the jobs created are not long-range permanent. That is quite true. But many states are desperately in need of employment, and local governments are in desperate need of revenue. The employment opportunities, seen regionally, are not that short-term. The major local revenue they produce will allow urgently required local needs to be addressed. Look at it this way: If you were to win a million dollars in the lottery, the income would also be considered a one-shot, but it would certainly address your financial problems.
Third, fracking critics note that local schools would be forced to educate new students and local roads would have to bear the burden of heavy trucks. In one key area where fracking is prevented from taking place, New York, The Census Bureau reports that a stunning 1.6 million people left the state over the past decade, a trend that is continuing. For two decades, New York has led the nation in the percentage of its people who are fleeing for greener pastures. The problem is especially acute upstate, where the fracking would take place. In essence, the state is being depopulated. An activity that stops that is a welcome development, not a problem. And, yes, more people and economic activity brings more traffic. But that means more jobs in road building and repair, also a welcome response to New York’s employment woes. New York’s 6.7% unemployment rate is worse than that of 36 other states. That crisis cannot continue to be ignored.
Fourth, critics maintain if the process was done safely, it wouldn’t be profitable. If every extremist, over-the-top concern of every industrial process were to be subjected to what the extremists considered “safe,” there wouldn’t be a single profitable venture in the nation.
Fifth, it’s pointed out that some earthquake readings have been detected in areas where fracking takes place. There is some merit in a strictly technical sense. But not only have the readings been well within the not-even noticeable range, they are fairly characteristic of many activities. If there is a new water line being emplaced in your community, for example, the digging produces readings that could also be considered “earthquakes.”
Sixth, concern is expressed over the release of methane. Methane is a natural substance also produced by cows and other mammals when they release gas by—pardon the phrase—farting. Unless a law is successfully passed against farting, methane is here to stay.
There have been numerous falsehoods created by those with a financial interest in keeping the U.S. from being freed from reliance on foreign oil. One story circulated about how several workers were killed working on a fracking job. It turns out they were driving a truck on an icy road, skidded, and sadly lost their lives. Another famous myth was that in a town near a fracking site fire came out of a local facet. That turned out to be false, as well.
Preventing fracking keeps energy prices exorbitant, prevents America from becoming energy independent, and robs many of employment opportunities.
If the same level of misinformation and fear-mongering existed when electricity was first being implemented, you would be reading this article by candle light.