Hydraulic Fracturing Essay

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What is Hydraulic Fracturing? Hydraulic fracturing is a widely used method of injecting certain solutions underground at high pressure to break up (fracture) rock formations (e.g. coalbeds). As the pressure fractures the rock, the oil or natural gas beneath it is released. The process is used to stimulate wells and release the natural gas that lives in shale gas formations and coalbeds. There has been a significant increase in the use of fracking for natural gas extraction over the past few years. It is estimated that by 2020, more than 20 percent of the gas supply in the U.S. will be extracted via hydraulic fracturing. Fracking Controversy There has been public controversy surrounding the potential impacts of hydraulic fracking on our drinking water supply. People that live near gas wells have complained that fracturing operations have contaminated their drinking water. In many cases, the oil and gas deposits are near underground water supplies. For example, coal formations in at least ten states contain underground drinking aquifers. During the fracturing process, hazardous chemicals are left underground. According to environmentalists, overtime, the chemicals can seep into the nearby water aquifers and contaminate the water supply. The gas industry argues that fracking occurs too far beneath the water aquifers to contaminate the water. Drillers are not obligated to disclose their chemical formula. This has also created controversy, as people say they should know what chemicals are being injected near their water supplies. Texas state representative and head of the House Committee on Energy Resources filed a bill in March 2011 that would create a website containing information about the chemicals used in the wells. List of Substances Used in Hydraulic Fracturing Solutions Hydraulic fracturing fluids are toxic to the environment and to public health. Some

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