Many experts believe that the process of hydraulic fracking will increase in use across the globe in the coming years. Fracking is done by injecting water, chemicals and sand into the ground with shale in order to obtain oil and natural gas. As the use of fracking has grown as has the concerns surrounding the process. There are concerns regarding contributions to global warming, groundwater contamination and earthquakes.
Obtaining natural gas through shale with the use of hydraulic fracking is growing within the U.S. as well, especially as the country tries to switch to national sources of energy. Natural gas obtained through shale gas currently amounts to approximately twenty-five percent of all natural gas in the U.S.. Experts believe this may jump to fifty percent by the year 2035. Therefore the growing concerns of hydraulic fracking are important to be explored and corrected if valid and able to be fixed.
Those in the fracking industry have admitted to the fact that the process can cause earthquakes in nearby regions. Earthquakes in both the states of Oklahoma and Ohio recently have been found to have been caused by fracking in the region, namely due to wells in which liquids from the process are stored in the earth. There are 177 such fracking deep disposal wells across the state of Ohio, a state which is not known for, but has recently experienced, a number of earthquakes.
Eleven earthquakes were noted in the region of Youngstown, Ohio in the year of 2011 beginning in March, around the time fracking processes also began. The last earthquake experienced in the region was on December 31st, a magnitude 4.0. Due to the earthquakes the state of Ohio ordered a moratorium on fracking in order to review the safety of the process. Since the moratorium scientists have in fact linked the earthquake episodes to fracking.
The states of Maryland and New York currently have moratoriums on fracking and the state of Vermont recently announced they will ban all fracking operations. While Vermont does not have natural gas reserves, their ban is considered symbolic. Despite the number of earthquakes which have occurred due to fracking, Ohio has decided to end their moratorium and not ban fracking but to proceed with the process with some changes to operations.
The U.S. government recently proposed new fracking rules, however, if passed these will not go into effect for some time. The state of Ohio will be imposing their own fracking regulations which are somewhat similar to the federal government proposals. The main component of the regulations require fracking companies to increase the disclosure of the chemicals they use in their process.
In addition to disclosing chemicals more of the chemicals used, water samples will be required to be taken within 1,500 feet of water wells. Wells will be required to be continually monitored while in operation. Also, at least half of the fluids injected into wells in Ohio are from outside the state. These fluids will now have to be disclosed prior to use.
Opponents of the new regulations point to the regulations as enabling companies to keep information from the public. Concerns run high regarding chemical contamination of the environment and water. The bill including the regulations has passed in Ohio and is expected to be signed by the governor.