www.telegraph.co.uk 6th May 2011
Fracking is the latest craze within the energy industry. Invented in 1821 in New York, fracking involves blasting water, sand, and often toxic chemicals into shale thousands of feet under the earth in order to extract natural gas. The use of the method rocketed in 2005 ‘in the US when the Energy Policy Act exempted fracking wells from federal regulation under the Safe Drinking Act.’ Since then reports have been made by local residents about tap-water catching fire when a match is lit nearby. But with 28,000 wells in 16 states in the USA alone by 2009, fracking is big business. BP paid $3 billion for fracking rights in 2008 and the world’s largest mining company BHP Billiton handed over $5 billion for rights in Arkansas. Fracking began in the UK in March. Although some green advocates insist that burning natural gas is a greener option compared to other fossil fuels as it produces less CO2, the US Environment Agency released a report in 2010 that contradicts this. Due to the hugely intrusive way the natural gas is extracted from shale, greater amounts of methane (one of the worst greenhouse gases) is emitted, therefore making fracking one of the most polluting practices in energy production. Furthermore, the process produces harmful chemicals including carcinogens and radioactive elements that leak into local water supplies. Air quality is another issue. Due to the 27,000 fracking wells in Wyoming, the state failed its federal requirements for air quality.
The list goes on. Read more in the original article from the Daily Telegraph here.