For all you Battlestar Galactica fans, not that kind of fracking – that fracking may be good for plants – the kind of fracking that means hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is a way of getting more Natural Gas by blasting a mix of water, sand and secret chemicals into sub-surface shales to create fractures that ease the flow of the recoverable gas therein found. They are – so far – been able to keep the chemicals secrete because they are trade secrets and protected.
Now a study in West Virgina shows that fracking kills about 50% where the waste water is deposited. This is not just anecdotal evidence, this is apparently an objective study. But I think that everybody who cares about the environment has known that fracking really is fracking up the environment. The problem is that we want the Natural Gas; it is, after all, a clean fuel. OK, maybe it isn’t clean, but it is a fuel and we really need fuel. Almost by definition, fuel is what powers our economy.
The study also suggested that it might not be as toxic if they spread the waste water out more. We really do need that fuel. If we started a Marshall Plan kind of green energy program right now – which we aren’t – we would still need to frack short term to keep the lights on. So maybe the question is How much are we willing to damage our planet to keep our toasters?