Monday, 26 January 2015

Tuesday recipe - fracking not this week

The title of this blog may suggest I didn't create in the kitchen last weekend but in fact I made a sausage casserole to a slightly different recipe using beer as my cooking liquid and including onions, carrots and potatoes with a variety of spicy sausages. It worked ok.

Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking)

Fracking refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formation and into the wellbore, from where it can be extracted.

I was sent a notification on Facebook a few days ago from 38 Degrees (an action group) concerning fracking. There is a vote on Monday in the UK Parliament concerning the subject and those of us against the process were encouraged to tweet our MPs requesting that they vote against the proposals. As one does I shared the request on my timeline which elicited a single response from a writing friend in Texas, USA.

    Jo King VonBargen - It's terrible here, where fracking has free rein!! They've had 26 earthquakes since the beginning of the year in Irving and surrounding area!!

This, for me, rather startling news caused me to look further into the process which yielded an article in the Guardian announcing that 11 tremors, ranging from 1.6 to 3.6 on the Richter scale, had been felt in and around that area in one day. As I have the time I decided to look further. The process is described above but it is the effects on the earth and the things on it that concerns.

The Dangers

Fracking fluid is made up of a cocktail of poisonous chemicals which includes formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid and a variety of other carcinogens.

Contaminated fresh water. Each well uses between 2 and 5 million gallons of locally sourced freshwater which after the process is unusable. Half of the water is stored on the surface in tanks until it can be injected into waste oil and gas wells, but no one really knows what happens to the other half. Best guesses suggest that some stays below ground while some finds its way back into the water supply.

Fracking causes environmental problems. 8 states have reported surface, ground and drinking water contamination due to fracking. Also habitat fragmentation and increased pollution from truck traffic.

There are other problems listed here that I will not go into at this time:-

Methane pollution, air pollution, blowouts due to gas explosion, waste disposal, workplace safety and infrastructure degredation.

Judging from the brief explanations of the above there doesn't seem to be much in favour of the process. The earthquakes ranges are for the most part imperceptible, anything over 3 on the scale will be noticeable, but the real concern is increased frequency. It raises the question of what will be the long term effects of so many earthquakes.

I hope this blog raises some questions in the readers minds.

God Bless