The process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", has become a popular way to reach oil reservoirs that would have otherwise been unattainable, as it lies beneath layers of rock and sentiment.
The natural gas gathered from the fracking wells has lowered the price of the commodity, but are the dangers these wells pose to our health and nature environment worth having a little extra coin?
A hydraulic fracture is performed by pumping "fracturing fluid" into the wellbore; this "fracturing fluid" increases the pressure in the well to exceed that of the fracture gradient of the rock. The rock cracks and the fracture fluid continue farther into the rock and sentiment, extending the crack farther. Operators of these wells usually try to maintain a "fracture width", in order to slow its decline, during most fracking operations other materials known as proppants are injected along with the fluid, materials, such as grains of sand, ceramic, and other particulates, are pumped into the fractures to prevent the them from closing when the injection is stopped.
Many have considered operations such as this extremely risky; many individuals have linked active hydraulic fracturing sites to earthquakes and other seismic activity, while others have reported chemicals from excess "fracturing fluid" and gasoline in their drinking water. I had the chance to interview Matthew Wagner and other members of the Warren 99 percent movement to discuss the issues and concerns about fracking that have been plaguing the minds of local citizens.
In the dimly lit dining room of a locally owned restaurant, Matthew Wagner, John Williams and I discussed what kinds of problems hydraulic, and other types of fracking might cause for the citizens of Ohioans, and the United States at large.
After some introductions and other pleasantries Matthew and John quickly and convincingly made their case. "What most people aren't aware of is the fact that the chemicals these companies are using to open up these reservoirs' are extremely toxic, in fact some of these chemicals have been directly linked to different cancers and gallbladder aliments, and in many cases these chemicals leech into the wells and water springs that many local residents rely on for water". Said Matthew in between sips from his coffee, "around 200 different chemicals are concocted and mixed together before being pumped into the same ground we get our drinking water from".
Claims of tainted ground water as a result of hydraulic fracking certainly isn't unheard of.
In fact, 11 families from the town of Dimock, Pa., sought lawful action against the Cabot Oil & Gas Corp, after the families claimed the company contaminated the residents ground water with chemicals such as methane, xenon, and radium. However, that suit was dismissed earlier this year.
And the most surprising part of this puzzle to me is the fact that even if we removed all of the oil from the rock formations under our great state, we would only have enough petrol and petrol products to fuel the United States for two measly years.
So I ask you this fellow citizens of Ohio, is all of this destruction of the environment and personal health really worth the carbon emitting oil?
Of course, the balancing argument is that this carbon-emitting natural gas is also emitting big pay checks for leasing rights to many Trumbull County landowners. And the drilling is bringing much-needed jobs to this economically starved Valley.
But we must ask are we already paying the price for our drilling addiction, and with so many viable alternative fuel sources available for use?