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Hydrofracking Threat

Hydrofracking, formally known as hydraulic fracturing, is a gas extraction mechanism that involves pumping large amounts of water, sand and chemicals underground to unearth natural gas from rock formations. This new mechanism is economical for companies in gas extraction, for the environment it can spell devastation.

The environmental threats from hydrofracking are numerous, an overview as to how the mechanism works is thus necessary to appreciate the gravity of the overall potential for disaster. Hydrofracking requires large quantities of water which is either transported to the extraction site or pumped from a nearby water sources. The water is then mixed with sand and various chemicals which may include biocides and fossil fuels amongst others to make a fracking fluid.

After the fracking is done, the large quantities of the mixture that was pumped into the ground returns to the surface, this is known as flowback. The flowback poses major environmental risks such as contamination of water sources if it finds its way into surrounding rivers or dams. There is also a threat to the surrounding soil and plant species. Fracking also requires that a vast area of land be cleared before operations are done, if the gas deposits are located in an area with trees and wildlife, the ecosystem of such area is always significantly disturbed to enable fracking projects to be conducted.

As mentioned above, hydrofracking is a relatively new mechanism. It is not as if companies were not able to extract natural gases before, they did albeit at lesser profit.

This mechanism must thus be stopped before it sets a precedence of greed over environmental interests. Companies desirous of using this technique have argued a case for “safe fracking”. This is a stark contradiction in terms, there can be no such thing as safe fracking where water quality is compromised, and the surrounding natural setup is significantly modified to accommodate fracking operations.

The tension between corporate profits and the environment should be no contest at all. Not in this day and age.

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