Due to the constant betrayals of our politicians who shamelessly do the bidding of corporate interests, fracking, and the needless prolongation of the hydrocarbon regime in energy production, is now not only a reality across the US and many other nations, but an expanding reality. The question faced by environmentalists is therefore itself fractured. On one level the fight against hydrocarbons must continue, unabated and indeed deepened and accelerated. (Tar sands and arctic drilling are practically done deals, already, despite all the sanctimonious posturing by Obama and his team.) On the other hand, a choice must be made: to back fracking by methods which are demonstrably less destructive to the environment or do nothing. The infosheet below presents the argument that fracking with CO2 instead of water may be ecologically advantageous. What do you think? Will accepting this method only “sanctify” the existence of fracking in our culture? The stakes are huge, so there is little room for mistakes. —Patrice Greanville
A typical fracking operation pumps some five million gallons of water and chemicals underground to break up the shale. About half the water is removed during the oil and gas recovery process, leaving the other half underground where it can contaminate aquifers and degrade soils.
E – The Environmental Magazine
Dear EarthTalk: I hear there’s a greener form of fracking for natural gas and oil that uses carbon dioxide instead of water to access underground reserves. Is this really better for the environment? – Jason Burroughs, Erie, PA
Hydraulic fracturing (known as “fracking”) is a method of causing fissures in underground shale rock formations to facilitate the extraction of otherwise inaccessible natural gas and oil. In a typical fracking operation, drillers inject a mixture of pressurized water and chemicals underground to fracture the rock and free up the gas and oil. Not widely employed in the U.S. until less than a decade ago, fracking has quickly become a major player in the U.S. energy scene. The resulting influx of cheap domestic natural gas—cleaner burning than the oil and coal it has replaced—is at least partly responsible for the fact that the U.S. has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions to the lowest levels since 1992. Continue reading »