Read the rest of the article here.Here are the five settled facts on fracking:
- There's definitely some weird stuff in fracking fluid
- "What is in these fracking fluids? Probably organic chemicals like diesel fuel, antifreeze, soap, things designed to make [the fluid] slipperier. "These things are not things you want to be dumping into drinking water."
But as long as it's done deep enough, the fracking process should not affect sources of drinking water
- "The layer of black shale is down in the subsurface several thousand feet. If you can drill down to that level, the hydrofracturing cracks do not extend more than 1000 feet or so; the ends of the cracks are still going to be several thousand feet below the surface [where wells and aquifers sit]."
Natural gas can leak up to the surface, but it's often the result of natural processes
- "The image of turning on a water faucet and having natural gas leak out, in general those are situations where they have sunk their well into a sandstone that has already filled with gas; that gas is naturally accumulating."
But a lot can still go wrong with the fracking process
- "There are some real problems. If the shale horizon is too close to surface...it probably shouldn't be hydrofracked so you avoid contaminating water. You also need to make sure you're inspecting well sites, that you don't have middle of night dumping of excess fluid into streams, that retention pits are properly sealed." The process also does cause measurable but small earthquakes, he said.
Bottom line: similar to off-shore drilling for oil, it's possible for something to go wrong, but it's not inherently unsafe. The debate needs to catch up with this reality.
- "It's worth looking more closely at it. My sense is, you end up with two sides that are pretty far apart and not really listening to each other. The public is overreacting to certain things, but there are other things the industry is underplaying."
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