Author: Chris Faulkner
Publisher: Platform Press
Many of us shudder when we hear the term “fracking,” and without knowing exactly what it means, we immediately conjure something that is atrocious and a frightening threat to groundwater supplies and the environment. No doubt, this has been fuelled in large part by the media and environmental activists that have their own agendas and consequently are not presenting us with the entire picture.
In addition, there is a lack of transparency emanating from the oil and petroleum industry that has contributed to our misconception of fracking, how it is done, the safety precautions being taken and the chemicals being used. As we can all appreciate, the world is never just black and white, right or wrong, one way or another. Is there another side to the fracking story? Is fracking safe? We must always strive to view matters from as many points as possible and this is exactly what Chris Faulkner sets out to do in his The Fracking Truth: America's Energy Revolution: The Inside, Untold Story.
Faulkner is the President and CEO of Breitling Energy Corporation. In 2004 he designed an advanced exploration software program to identify resource plays that would have easily been undetected using traditional methods. Although Faulkner is a strong proponent of fracking, he is also a vocal advocate of environmentally friendly and socially responsible development of oil and gas resources. His company's software, EnviroFrac evaluates the necessity and environmental safety of additives used in the process of hydraulic fracturing. And as he informs us, Breitling has eliminated 25% of the additives used in its frack fluids and is striving for 100% reuse or recycling of water used in fracking.
In The Fracking Truth Faulkner brings a great deal of clarity, intelligence and insight pertaining to a subject matter that is often at the forefront of some heated debates. His principal objective in writing the book is to explain the revolution that is transpiring in our own backyards and spreading around the globe.
Notwithstanding that the book is only one hundred and fifty-three pages, its scope is extremely broad and informative as it condenses many of the issues surrounding fracking and recapitulates the stimulating arguments proffered by both sides of the debate as well as the controversies and misinformation that are proliferated. And as Faulkner asserts: “sometimes we make judgements about energy needs versus environmental impacts without knowing all the facts. Furthermore, many times our judgements are colored by our emotions instead of reason-whether conjuring up myths about eco-conscious aboriginal cultures or wrongfully demonizing an entire industry.”
Some of the themes Faulkner digs into include America's energy challenges and the various alternative sources of energy, the existing oil and gas bounty, various alternative resources, dirty little secrets about renewable energy resources, how all of our options carry some economic and environmental trade off, what fracking is and is not, the many myths and the players involved in these myths, trade secrets and transparency, why we will never run out of oil and gas, the true and untrue environmental risks, the new American revolution that has arrived,government's role, Hollywood and the misinformation machine, the benefits of the fracking boom, how fracking may prove to be our best near-term solution, and a host of other timely issues. As an added bonus, the book contains many colorful graphs, photos, and illustrative tables as well as an extensive Index and foot notes. One such table I found particularly illuminating was “Fracturing Fluid Additives, Main Compounds, and Common Uses, ” where Faulkner illustrates where many of the additives used for fracking are likewise used for cleaning swimming pools, sterilizing medical and dental instruments, and other common uses.
The results are enlightening and the discussions stimulating although, lets face it, in all likelihood for many readers who think about these subjects rigorously, there will be a great deal of disagreement. All the same, I have to admit that The Fracking Truth does articulate sound arguments in a persuasive and accessible manner connecting many of the dots that the media and others have missed in the past.