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.
One of the major concerns that many individuals and environmental groups have with the process is the potential contamination of drinking water. Some areas have claimed such contamination has already occurred during the past few years of the growing field. Fracking causing local earthquakes and contributing to global warming emissions are also top concerns.
Many chemicals are used in the process of fracking, well into the hundreds, and according to some government findings many are considered hazardous. Twenty-nine of the known chemicals are possible carcinogens, hazardous air pollutants or under regulation when entering the water supply by the U.S. government.
Which is why the U.S. government recently announced intentions to require companies to disclose the chemicals they use on federal lands. In addition, the proposal would like to see companies increasing practices to ensure well casings and preventing waste water leakage. Under the proposed regulations the companies would not have to disclose the chemicals used until they have already begun fracking in order to prevent drilling delays.
Coming on the heels of this governmental proposal, the state of Vermont has now decided to ban all fracking operations. The law has not yet been signed by the governor of the state but as the governor supports the ban it is expected to be signed shortly. Vermont would be the first U.S. state to ban fracking, although the states of Maryland and New York currently have moratoriums on fracking. Both these states are requiring more environmental study before allowing the process, however, it is not out the question that they may ban as well.
The ban in Vermont is being considered a symbolic gesture towards fracking as the state does not have natural gas reserves. However, the state is located near a major region for fracking and natural gas, the Marcellus shale formation. It is unknown whether their decision will influence nearby states.
As for the reaction to Vermont’s ban, environmental groups are pleased with the decision. Dusty Horwitt from the Environmental Working Group stated: “Vermont’s policy makes sense given the high risks of drilling and fracking and the lack of science showing how or whether this process can be conducted safely.”