Hydraulic fracturing — or ‘fraccing’, as it’s more commonly referred to — is the process of obtaining natural gases from deep within the Earth; high-pressure water, sand and chemicals are pumped in, rock splits, tiny explosions happen, and gas — massive volumes of gas, the likes of which is hard to comprehend or put across in words — is immediately released, rising to the surface where it is captured. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, but going into much more detail would seem needless, what with the immense amount of information already out there about it. Really, though, all you need to know is that it is an extremely efficient and new-school approach to harvesting natural gas. An approach which, according to today’s East Anglian News is already in its infancy here in the UK.
INSERT FRACCING DIAGRAM HERE!
And you should be worried. Very worried. Because while fraccing is ultra-efficient and a template for what could potentially be a supreme long-term natural gas solution, right now it is dangerous, ramshackle and flawed — a combination of grave warnings which, when rolled into one, create a horrific prospect at a time when we ought to be heading in a better direction than where we have come from. And that’s not just my opinion: it’s an irrefutable fact. For further proof of the highly dubious nature of fraccing, one need only type the phrase into any search engine and click on any number of the troubling articles that the search has brought up. That’s not to say that everything about fraccing is bad news, of course, it’s just that what bad news there is has a habit — constant and unwavering, no matter what the aspect — of dwarfing the limited positive attributes which are known to exist.
Personally, the idea that fraccing may become frequent practice in the UK more than just worries me: it genuinely disturbs me, for a number of reasons. Some of which are as follows:
1) At fraccing sites across the United States, ground-water networks have become repeatedly contaminated. Contaminated may be too kind a word, actually. On countless occasions wildlife drinking and swimming in the affected water have been poisoned. Alongside this, and no less unsettling, people have experienced a wide range of health worries — we’re talking everything from brain lesions to skin complaints and anything in-between. Fraccing and people simply do not mix.
2) None of the aforementioned occurrences have been deemed noteworthy enough to stop hydraulic fracturing from happening in new locations. While public concern has slowed down the process and petitions have proved somewhat effective, fraccing will not be stopped. This machine is much too determined and greedy to be stopped by a few hot and bothered citizens.
3) The short history of fraccing tells us that once fraccing is here, it’s here to stay. Natural gas is extremely valuable. Once a site is found, there is virtually nothing on Earth which can stop it being mined.
Fraccing should and will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Remember that taste. It’s not going to go away any time soon. Do not stand for it.