Recently I have watched a two part documentary about fracking called Gasland.
This documentary focused on one man who lived on land that companies wanted to frack on. They offered him money and hounded him about allowing them to frack on his land. When this was going on, he set out across the country (mostly in the west) to see what he could dig up about fracking.
The things that he found out were extremely alarming. Understanding how fracking can be seen as beneficial (technically easier to extract natural resources while providing usually technically economic benefits for small towns) still does not justify its negative impacts. This documentary showed many environmental and social impacts that fracking has on the communities that it borders on. Environmentally, fracking is alarming. It involves forcing water, sand, and a multitude of chemicals under the ground to force natural gas and oil to the surface. These chemicals are often unregulated, and find their way into the environment. Runoff of these chemicals are shown to be stored in shallow man-made ponds that are lined by nothing stronger than a tarp to keep the chemicals from leaking back into the ground. Fracking can also cause seismic activity. (This is currently important because there have been large earthquakes in the midwest lately, but a large one was during the election on the same day that Trump said yet another ridiculous thing – so it took the media’s attention away from the earthquakes- subsequently causing a lack of coverage so it was not as big of a story as it should have been)
Socially, fracking is shown to cause a lot of problems. These documentaries showed how people in the midwest had their tap water polluted by fracking companies, and how it was both undrinkable as well as flammable. It showed how people were able to turn there water on and then light it on fire. It caused illnesses and conditions in people who drank it and were unaware that it was contaminated. Fracking also caused fumes that made people sick. Another thing it did was (because a lot of people in the midwest raise cattle) was kill or cause illness in those cattle. These factors drove people from their land, even if the fracking was not going on directly on their property.
From these two films, I have learned a lot more about fracking. Even though it has the potential to wean the US off of our dependency on foreign oil, the destruction it causes is not worth it. Fracking companies fight hard with very powerful lawyers to protect themselves as well as deny any responsibility for the environmental and social damages that they cause. They hide what they are actually doing, and in the film, they refused the man who was making these documentaries from filming a lot of what was actually going on both near the rigs as well as in the courtroom. Overall, I believe that we should end fracking and place both the monetary aspect as well as our energy as a nation into focusing on renewable resources.