Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to obtain natural gas from shale formations deep underground. Natural gas is prized these days as a clean-burning fuel that can help lessen the use of coal and oil as we transition toward renewable energy sources. But natural gas is not the miracle fuel some believe it to be.
Fracking uses large quantities of water and chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene to break the rock and release the gas. Because of exceptions in the Safe Drinking Water Act, fracking is not regulated. It can also release methane into the atmosphere, which in the short term warms the globe about 30 times more than carbon dioxide does. There is interest In drilling in the Marcellus shale formation, which underlies Virginia’s neighboring states of Maryland and West Virginia.
This is reason enough to be alarmed and outraged about the expansion of hydro fracking around the country. Now, there is a growing skepticism among energy experts about how much natural gas can be obtained this way and whether it is really cost-effective . Leaked industry emails describe shale gas as a “Ponzi scheme,” an Enron-like sham, and “a lot of hype.” The rush to drill in shale for natural gas may in reality be based on overstatement, creating an uneconomic bubble.
What do you think-- will these warnings change our energy policy and spare communities from the dangers of hydro fracking?