How Safe is Fracking?

Fracking operation
Fracking operation | Source

What is Fracking?

Fracking is a way of using hydraulic pressure with massive amounts of chemicals and water to go deep into the earth. It fractures the shale rock layers below to find sources of natural gas, petroleum or other resources. The word fracking is a shortened form for hydraulic fracturing.

Large corporations are leasing the rights to state lands and farm grounds for fracking. Read on to find out why we should ban it. Yes, we need more natural gas, but at what cost? The hazards of using this method are not worth it.

It Contaminates Ground Waters

The state of Michigan has offered public lands at auction for this purpose. Residents near the area are signing petitions to try to stop it. I had heard of the process in the past, but recently have become very involved since they plan on doing this just miles from our home. Of course, I am alarmed by the dangers of the process.

Besides being near homes it is on state lands meant for the enjoyment of the public and to conserve wildlife. Much of the land is near lakes and streams.

According to the site Dangers of Fracking, each job takes 1-8 million gallons of water. You can imagine the force to the land. Sand and up to 40,000 gallons of chemicals are mixed with the water. This includes as many as 600 chemicals, many that are dangerous to human health. Chemicals that are known to cause cancer, liver problems, kidney disease and nervous system disorders are included in this mix. Lead and mercury are also included and we know how dangerous consumption of these are.

The companies here won't let the citizens know which chemicals they use. They claim the chemical are being patented for the process. President Obama is currently making a law to force the companies that do fracking, to reveal the chemicals used. This doesn't make them any safer though. The waste water caused by the operation could be even worse than already known.

A percentage of chemicals is left in the ground, contaminating that too. Since the chemicals don't biodegrade, they stay there leaving the contamination for generations to come. Cement is put where the fracking was done, but the wells often get cracks in them later which leak.

Many farmers have leased out their farmlands. I've heard that some have only given in due to high pressure.

In Pennsylvania and West Virginia sites near wellsradiation levels that were found that were 100 times the allowable levels for drinking water. 15 of the wells had more than 1000 times the level that is allowed by the EPA. Radiation is found naturally deep in the ground and then flushed up. Much of the radiation and other contaminants just gets pumped into rivers and streams. No waste water treatment is used to filter out the harmful substances.

Fracking the Bakken Formation in North Dakota
Fracking the Bakken Formation in North Dakota | Source

Green House Gas Emissions

Methane is burned at the well in the process of removing the gas from the ground. Waste is left that evaporates into the air causing air problems. The fracking can damage our ozone layer and cause acid rain. Water tested near wells have had a 17% higher level of methane than in other areas.

Other Problems

Earthquakes have happened in the areas that have been fracked. This isn't surprising, since such pressure is applied deep in the ground. You'll find arguments about this, but since I wrote this article in 2013, today the second day of May 2015, we just had the second strongest earthquake in Michigan's history. It was just a 4.2, but how strong will they get in the future? It is unusual for Michigan to have an earthquake.

Oklahoma now has as many as 2000 earthquakes a year. I am hoping Michigan bans fracking before this happens to us.

Well head after fracking is finished
Well head after fracking is finished | Source

The Other Side of the Story

There is no doubt that fracking does create jobs and does increase tax revenues. According to the site, it will add $18 billion in economic growth to the area. The process also gives our country more secure supplies of natural gas for the future and lowers the present prices. 30% of our natural gas is now produced in this manner.

The natural gas obtained from fracking can be used to produce electricity. It is a much cleaner option than coal, because it has 30% less carbon emissions. According to the NY Times, it is safer than the traditional drilling because it goes so far below the soil.

It can make states crack down hard on environmental issues on other industries, by setting standards that they hadn't completed before. Recycling the water is being set as a standard in some states.

Whether fracking should be allowed or not all boils down to money. Water is one of the most important resources in our country. Is having cheaper natural gas for heat worth losing our safe water supply and damaging air quality? You decide for yourself.


Dangers of Fracking - I urge you to visit this site if you still don't understand fracking. It has an illustration where you travel into the earth and explains in a simple to understand manner.

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Comments 57 comments

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

This is the first I have heard of this process. It does seem extreme and harmful to our water resources. Perhaps this is why they are having those earthquakes in places such as Wisconsin. Are there any safer alternatives to this process?

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

teaches12345, I don't know if there are safer alternatives. Alaska sells most of its natural gas to Russia. Why don't they keep some of that to use? They do think the earthquake they had in Illinois was caused by it. Michigan is going to have it in 26 different counties and just a couple of miles from us. The entire thing makes me sick. We are thinking about selling our house and moving elsewhere. With this economy, how do you sell your house?

Thanks for commenting and thanks for giving me the idea to search if there are safer alternatives.

Larry Wall 4 years ago

For 22 years I was the PR person for a leading oil and gas trade group in Louisiana. Fracking issues only developed in the last couple of years of my employment, so I will admit up front, I am not an expert.

I think you have found everything that can happen with the fracking process. I do not think they all happpen at all wells, because the geology is different. I promise you the area 20 feet below the surface in Louisiana is much different that the area 20 feet below the surface in the Texas Panhandle.

Land holders have been quick to lease their property. Many made hundreds of thousands just on the lease, not counting the royalties they are going to collect over time.

Fracking is used in shale formation, where the oil and gas is found in resource formation, rather than the reservoir formation where traditional drilling and production operations take place.

I have no problem with companies being required to list the chemicals they use. Unless you are a chemist, with experience in groundwater contamination, the list is not going to be much use to you.

Many people are counting on the oil that is coming from the shale formations to reduce the U.S. dependency on foreign oil and eventually reduce the price of domestic gasoline. Fracking is an essential part of the process. So, you have to be prepare for a battle with the oil companies and with the proponents who want more U.S. production. In addition, the local government which will collect production taxes or severance taxes are going to be in favor of the process.

Fracking has been going on in Louisiana for a few years. I only know of one incident where some cows allegedly died from drinking contaminated water.

I know techniques are being developed that will allowed the water used in Fracking to be captured and treated, so it can be used again. Your concern about the amount of water should be the least of your concerns. As the oil and gas is produced the water fills up the space that it occupied.

I am not disputing anything you stated, except for my one earlier observation. I am saying that like most issues, there are two sides. You have obviously become very educated on the possible adverse impacts. I suspect that you have talked to people who either do not like the oil and gas industry, and there are plenty of those, or feel they did not get a piece of the pie.

I urge you to find some pro-fracking people and talk to them. I do not know what state you are in, but start with the appropriate regulatory agencies. Talk to petroleum engineers at a nearby college if possible.

Two final notes. It is not only "big oil companies" using the fracking process. Many smaller independent companies are actively involved in using fracking to recover oil and gas from various formations.

Secondly, the oil and gas being found through fracking is reducing our dependence on foreign oil and creating jobs. Let's make sure we have a real danger before we shut it down. Strange chemical names, using hundred of thousands of gallons of water can be frightening to some. We need to make sure that the fear is justified and if it is, what precautions can we take that will be economically feasible, technically possible and will actually help the situation.

Larry Wall 4 years ago

Barbara Kay,

I wrote a rather detailed reply to your hub, that I thought was fair and offered a few alternatives. I do not see it yet. I did not even get the 10 minutes to revise it. Has it been denied. That is certainly your right, but if you did I will just write my own tomorrow or the next day. If it just did not appear, let me know. Naturally, I cannot recreate it word for word, but I can come close.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Larry Wall, I just wasn't on Hubpages to approve it until now. The DNR and EPA are really against this. If you read the hub, you'd see they are fracking for natural gas. The US has a large supply in Alaska that is being sold to Russia. Why aren't we using this instead of selling it? Thanks for your reply, but if you live in the area and you know these things can happen, you wouldn't like it either. Thanks for commenting.

Larry Wall 4 years ago

Barbara Kay,

Fracking was first viewed as a way of recovering natural gas. That is why natural gas prices are so low. If your electricity is generated by natural gas your bills this summer will be much less than what you paid last year because the fuel adjustment will be much lower.

Fracking is being used for oil recovery in many places. There are Hubs all over the place about how the country is going to be free of foreign oil because of the various shale plays that use fracking long with horizontal drilling.

The current administration is anti-oil and gas--has been since taking office. The DNR in your state may be opposed to it and as I said that would be one source to consider. I do not know the geography of your area, who the operators are and how deep they are going to drill. All of these factors have an impact on safety. My point was that we do not need to start a movement that fracking is bad and it should be halted. It can play a major part in our energy future.

Finally, we are exporting gas, because we have it to export. No one is being deprived natural gas. However, storing natural gas poses some major problems. We have a few liquified natural gas ports in the state where liquified gas is being sold overseas where it is needed. This improves our balance of trade, generates jobs and income.

Finally, I apologize for my second note. I been on HubPages for less than a year and never had a comment that did not show up almost immediately--did not realized that the approved button had to be hit to make it appear. It was ignorance on my part and I sincerely apologize for implying that you might be preventing the release of views contrary to your own. Being an old newspaper reporter can make you overly suspicious. I suspect we will be debating this issue some more. Like I said I was not too involved in it, so I have some catching up to do.

Thank you for your response, and again my apologies for being overly anxious.


American Romance profile image

American Romance 4 years ago from America

Barbara, Please keep an open mind as I interject here. I have been in the oil field for many years! My company is one of those "evil" fracking companies! Let us talk common sense for a few minutes. First of all there is NOT ONE documented confirmed case of fracking hurting or damaging ground water! Here is why in a common sense, plain English form. You will almost never find a water well for human consumption over 250 feet deep, Fracking is done at levels around 10,0000 to 15,0000 ft deep! 2nd from the top of the ground clear down to those extremely deep levels we have thick pipe and cement protecting the hole to keep everything contained! Not one but TWO protective containers keeping the fluid inside! 3rd we do use chemicals for keeping the salt levels in the water to a minumum and keeping the clay formations from caving in down hole! The main chemical is called KCL! KCL is mined in the New Mexico area near Carlsbad and is nothing more than salt without the salt part! In other words it looks like salt, feels like salt but is missing the key ingredient that actually makes it salt for the table.

10,000 ft down there is shale formation tightly compressed together. Using water and sand along with pressure it is forced down hole to break up this rock formation to allow the oil to seep better. Nothing more and nothing less! Even if they were using 1000 gallons of acid mixed with 100,000 barrels of water the dilution would enable a human to still drink the water! (keep in mind I making this very very simple) Lastly, It would be and is to this day IMPOSSIBLE for this water or break up of the shale to contaminate ground water! Remember the documentary of the tap water that could be lit on fire from the sink? Remember how they blamed it on fracking? later it came out that this water was being lit many years before fracking was ever performed in this area!

Are you correct in saying the EPA and DNR are against this procedure? Yes you are! They are nothing more than environmental radicals hired by a liberal white house! The appointed director for the EPA had to resign last week because he was taped on record for saying he would destroy the oil and gas business in America! ...........Instead they want your tax money going to Solyndra, windmills and the Chevy volt that only sold 600 last year! All the rest are going bankrupt and your government lost billions of taxpayer money in these projects! I have lived near fracking most of my life! I have a water well less than 300 yards from a well that was fracked about 2 years ago and zero problems! The oil and gas business is great for America and safe for YOU!

joer4x4 profile image

joer4x4 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

Energy will continue to be a dirty business until we focus on finding a source of clean energy.

Even so called green energy like solar panels use toxic chemicals.

There is a lot of fracking in Pennsylvania and some of it has caused well solution. But for the most part so far so good and the problems are being addressed.

The bottom line to all this is in our hands. If we don't buy it it won't be sought after.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Well I must be a liberal radical because I believe in keeping our land safe for our grandchildren. I'm not trying to start an argument. I just want answers.

My husband works in the plating industry and there are government guidelines they need to follow if there is a chemical spill. Now don't say this never happened, because in anything there are occasional accidents. Are their government guidelines as far as how to clean up a chemical spill if one occurs?

Another thing, are there government guidelines that need to be followed for cleaning waste water? The waste water from plating companies has to be tested every week and all of is treated.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

joer4x4, Too bad that we don't have alternatives in rural areas for cars like there are in the cities. I'm happy to hear that you haven't had any problems in your area. I wrote this article, because all I've heard are bad things about fracking and it has me concerned.

Larry Wall 4 years ago

There are numerous guidelines for dealing with the Fracking issues. I will not say that it is without total risk. Driving a car does not come risk free. Fracking has been used for years in vertical wells, and is now being adapted for use in horizontal wells in shale formations. The real trick is for those with concerns to voice those concerns in a reasonable manner, recognize that there is some risk in almost everything we do and attempt to work with the industry and the regulatory agencies to find the middle ground that provides the best for all concern.

From experience, I know this will not be easy. With gas prices as low as they are, asking producers to incur additional costs for fracking could be cost prohibited, unless the price of natural gas goes up. Oil producers using fracking have a little more room to maneuver, so some compromise might be possible.

We all use oil and natural gas. No one has come up with a better alternative. There have been a lot of ideas and some with limited applications, but we are going to need oil.

If fracking will help increase domestic supply, then we can reduce our foreign reliance, create more jobs and perhaps give the economy the jolt it needs.

Safety is a top consideration. Unfortunately no system is perfect. We drive cars and have wrecks. Airplanes crash. Medications can have harmful effects, our diets can lead to diabetes and heart disease. Some people are allergic to nuts, wheat and other things.

Fracking actually has a pretty good track record.It is only now that it is getting attention from the general public and the level of concern is being raised.

My father worked at a chemical plant that made Tetra-ethyl lead, an additive that was added to gasoline to improve octane. We found out years later that lead was bad for people. My father died at age 62. Did the lead cause it? I do not think so. I think the two packs of cigarettes he smoke much of his life, and the diet he had as a child during the depression, biscuits made with flour and lard, dumplings made with flour and lard, eggs and an generous supply of bacon and sausage, probably contributed more to his death than is exposure to the tetra-ethyl lead help to manufacture.

Larry Wall 4 years ago

There are standards for treating and disposing of waste water from oil and gas operations. From a traditional well, the water is called produced water and has a high salt content and contains NORM, naturally occurring radio active material. Everything contains NORM. A granite building generates more NORM than a wooden building. If yo live in the mountains you are exposed to more norm than if you live in the deep south.

Water from oil wells is pumped into injection wells back into the ground, where it came from. These wells are constantly monitored. Fracking water is not sent back into the river or streams from where it is drawn. It is pumped back into the grounds. There are concerns, that need to be investigated, that the nature of fracking will allow the water to seep back to the surface ground water. Steps are being taken to prevent that. The process will improve as do most processes and procedures. It is going to take time, patience and diligence on the part of all parties. We do not need to ban fracking immediately nor do we need to allow industry to go unchecked. We have to see that all sides work together.

American Romance profile image

American Romance 4 years ago from America

joer4X4, why is energy a dirty business? haha, you people have listened to redical environmental wackos for too many years! Funny when you hear it enough it becomes true! I got 1000 dollars for anyone who can get me contact information from anyone that can PROVE fracking damaged their water supply!...................! NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN! Impossible!

Energy is a fantastic business, employees more than almost any other sector in this country! Millions benefit! 70% of consumer goods from plastic bags to you name it are built from oil! Natural gas is clean and plentiful!........give it up!

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Larry, I don't like being the guinea pig when the only benefit I will receive is lower natural gas prices. I have no problem with what we are paying for our heating and electric bills now. If it does seep into the ground water it can cause all sorts of health problems. I already have a chronic illness and don't need cancer, kidney problems, liver problems or nerve problems which have been stated to be caused by some of these chemicals.

You asked what state I live in. It is Michigan and this may even make our house difficult to sell. Most of our money is wrapped up in this house.

Michigan's biggest resource is its water. Our state has a big tourist industry since we are surrounded on 3 sides by the Great Lakes, have hundreds of lakes, rivers and streams. Most of the fracking will be done on state land that has lakes and camp grounds.

I just can't see the justification for taking any chances just for money. That is all it boils down to. The state is in a money fix and they've found a way to make some.

If they were going to do this 2 miles from your house, would you like it?

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

American Romance, Here is the link to what happened in Pennsylvania just recently

This site shows a map of everywhere a fracking accident happened in the US

Nothing is impossible as you state. Accidents happen all the time.

Read some of these. There are enough to raise real concerns.

American Romance profile image

American Romance 4 years ago from America

Barbara, that is the problem! It did NOT happen! Impossible! I lived in oil country all my life! We have been fracking for many years! Not just a well here and another 5 miles away! We frack wells 100 yards apart for miles upon miles! You know those TV shows in the desert with pumpjacks every few hundred feet? That is where I have lived my entire life! Stop worrying! This isn't about money! Its about livelihoods for millions! Its about American freedom from imports! If oil became unionized and Democrat supporting in the morning, you would NEVER hear another thing about fracking!

If you will take a deep breath and relax I will be happy to give you all the information you need. Read the book or download to your kindle titled : Energy and Climate Wars by Peter C. Glover and Michael J. Economides, There is enough information in this book to ease your mind. Besides all us sitting the cafe laughed together once drilling started in PA and we started hearing all this crazy stuff about ground water and the EPA getting involved etc. We have heard this for years and we all know it to be bogus science!........Remember when we were all going to freeze to death? Now were all going to burn to death? Eggs were killing us? Now eggs are healthy? My fatherinlaw ate fried potatoes every night for most of his life! He is 78 and still kicking! Every room you were ever in as a child had an asbestos ceiling! Highly dangerous! Are you still alive? Elderly today will tell you they use to run behind the DDT trucks and play in the fog! DDt was outlawed because it was found to be deadly to animals and humans! Mercury is supposed to cause cancer and clot your blood if handled raw! We all use to break thermometers and play with it in the floor!............I have never heard of anyone I know who died from all of the above! Your life cannot be affected by something happening over 10,000 feet below the surface of the ground! Some of these wells are deeper than airplanes fly in the sky! If those chemicals are somehow defying gravity and coming to the surface they will reach the top in the year 4056! your going to be fine!

Larry Wall 4 years ago

Barbara Kay and others, for every web site you find that says Fracking is evil, you can find one that says it is not. That is the nature of the internet.

Your neighboring state, North Dokota is having an oil boom, using traditonal wells, where water and chemicals are already being injected.

I have my share of ills, as do members of my family. I will tell you one story.

I use to live in Morgan City, LA. A company opened that was going to dispose of oilfield waste, since it was expected that congress was going to rule that it was hazardous. Congress rule just the opposite, because the amount of water mixed with the waste eliminated much of the hazard. Yes the oil industry did lobby for that bill.

Anyway, the company continued to operate and was burning anything and everything.

Thee were three cases of neuroblastoma reported. That raised alarms. It was a rare disease. The company was blamed. Then there were four cases of ALS and again the company was blamed.

One of the four ALS patients was my mother, who contracted the illness while living in Baton Rouge, 70 miles away. I had moved her to a nursing home so I could be near her.

Another case, was the uncle of a friend of mind. Same situation. Contracted the disease elsewhere, but died in Morgan City.

One case was on the fringe of what would be considered the target area--questionable at best.

One person was a native of the area and contracted the disease. The big problem is that no one knows what causes the disease.

So when fracking or new process occurs, there is closer scrutiny. That can lead to premature or over-zealous conclusions.

I am not saying that frackkng is 100 percent safe. I am not saying that it should not be regulated and I am not saying that the people in the vicinity do not have a right to know what is going on.

I am saying, lets just use some caution on both sides. Fracking of wells could be an economic boom for this nation. It might increase the value of your home because it could be close to a work site and still be in a nice neighborhood. No one can predict what housing prices will do.

I understand your concerns and your fears as well as your desire to know more. I only hope that when doing your research you look at both sides of the issues, read what those are saying about the safety of fracking.

When microwave ovens were first on the consumer market, they were associated with birth defects if pregnant woman set too near the microwave ovens. That was disproved.

There was a scare that all the ED medications that men take was causing blindness. Turns out that the incidence of blindness among the people taking the ED medication was less than the general population per 1,000 persons.

Computer screens were one time blamed for causing cataracts. They don't.

There have been a lot of misconceptions in the past. Let's not allow this to be another one. We need more evidence before we consider a ban on fracking. I would suspect more people have been stricken by black lung disease in coal minds than by illnesses caused by fracking.

I am pretty much finished with what I have to say. I hate it when hubs get too long and it turned into he said, she said situation. I respect your opinions and your concerns. I am just not in total agreement and would like to see some more study before halting what could be a very valuable process that could reduce our energy dependence.

TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Interesting hub and well worth a lot of discussion. Alaska has been trying to bring it's natural gas to US markets for years, but keeps running into government roadblocks.

According to a press release from Gov. Sean Parnell's office: "Pacific Rim countries long have been markets for Alaska’s energy. In 2011, Alaska’s total energy exports were $387.7 million, which included liquefied natural gas, refined petroleum products, and coal. Japan accounted for $198.2 million of natural gas, and China for $12 million, while more than $66 million in additional energy exports are reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. Coal exports of $30.8 million consisted of $20.8 million to Chile, $5.3 million to Japan, $4.7 million to Korea, and $67,564 to Mexico. Refined petroleum product exports, primarily to Canada, totaled $80 million." (

Here is a link to the history and the status of trying to sell Alaska PNG:

Russia produces a large majority of their own oil and gas with the help of US and foreign oil companies (I worked at CH2MHill and several of our projects were on Russian oil/gas projects).

I just saw on the news, here in North Dakota, that the state is making all fraking companies disclose the make up of their fraking liquids. So far, all companies have complied.

forall profile image

forall 4 years ago

It is my 1st time to hear about fracking process. The hub was informative and so are the comments.

Larry Wall 4 years ago

I am not going to say anymore on Fracking, American Romance did a great job. I will tell you one story.

After the Valdez Oil Spill years ago, the country became concerned about oil spills. Steps were taken, double hull ships, new procedures, etc.

In the process a rule was enacted that required that any sheen seen on a navigable waterway had to be reported.

Exxon has a refinery and a dock in my city. Someone saw a very small (few inches) and light sheen on the water so it was reported and immediately investigated.

The cook had thrown some cooking oil out the window. It was the wrong thing to do, but it was not going to have any great environmental accident.

The point is that because something is reported as an accident, does not mean it was a real accident. Two cars hitting each other at a drilling site where Fracking is used could be counted as an "accident" which is correct, but that example would have nothing to do with Fracking.

If you do not believe that government can be that picky, try this. We have an ethics law in Louisiana (I know its hard to believe) where you cannot give anything of value to a state employee. The state employee comes to a refinery to do an inspection or review an application for a new permit. The refiner yhas a free cafeteria for workers and guests. Someone has to figure out the price of a plate of red beans and rice to charge the state worker. If the state worker, during the course of the day, takes one of those pointed paper cups and fills it with water from a water dispenser, he must be charged.

You have to be careful about the conclusions from raw data if you do not have all the details.

joer4x4 profile image

joer4x4 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA


"joer4X4, why is energy a dirty business?"

Because unlike any other business it has unique side effects. And no matter what they do or how carefull they are there will be accidents. It is the nature of acquiring and converting energy. That's what I mean by dirty.

Hell we could go back to chopping trees and burning firewood but that's risky too.

Now I am not against fracking but I do think we need to be carefull and clean up when there is an accident.

And earthquakes? the technology is not there yet to create the huge fissures. Any fissures created by fracking are just too small.

For mmost of my life I lived around the gas works and chemical plants and I'm fine. And so is everybody else.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Larry, I couldn't find any positive sites other than those by the oil companies themselves. If you could send me some links, I'd appreciate it. I have no problems changing the hub a bit if you could send me some good facts backed up with some sites that can be trusted. Thanks.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

TToombs08, Thanks for your input.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

forall, Thanks for reading the hub and responding.

Larry Wall 4 years ago

There are others, but I tried to avoid any that had any connection with the oil and gas industry. However, I find it upsetting that you will accept as fact information put out by environmental groups, which often do not have access to all the data they need but dismiss anything that has an industry connection.

Trust me, the industry does not want to do anything that it is going to be held liable for years down the road.

They try to avoid things like that.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Larry, Ok. I will add both sides here and possibly change the title to Is Fracking Dangerous rather than Ban Fracking. Thanks.

Larry Wall 4 years ago


We made progress today. Let me put in one final thing.Oil companies do not want to do things wrong that will cost them money in the future. Exxon did not want the Valdez Spill and BP did not want the Gulf explosion.

We have a situation in Louisiana where an oil company will drill a well. The production of the well becomes less profitable because of the overhead of the company, so it sells it to a smaller company, which often sells it to a third company and goes bankrupt. Who do you think gets sued, the major oil company that originally drilled the well. On top of that the landowner seldom uses the money to clean up the site if he wins the suit. We passed legislation, we thought would fix that problem, by insisting that the only money collected would go to re-mediate the property. The trial lawyers found a loophole. The major companies should not be liable after they sell the well, but they lost that fight. So, what I am saying, do not paint the oil and gas industry as the bad guys. I was fired from my job of 22 years without any reason being given. I should be outraged at anything they do. However, I know it is a good industry. Finally, how about considering: Fracking: Are The Benefits Worth the Risk. Just a suggestion. It has been an enlightening day for me. Have a good eveing.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

Just my opinion but I do not think fracking can be causing earthquakes. Fracking is like putting a needle in a haysack when thinking it can do enough damage to the ground to cause an earthquake. I just think there is no way it could cause that. I think our earth is changing and that is what is causing all the earthquakes, not only in the US but all over the world.

We have always had earthquakes in Wisconsin.

Enjoyed reading your hub I'm sure you will get many more comments on this hub.

American Romance profile image

American Romance 4 years ago from America

moonlake is correct! The hole dug by heavy machinery at the 911 sight has a lot more earth moving than any well in history! We are talking about the size of a shop building or half the size of a football field or smaller! Those sizes are dug daily for homes to be built! parking garages, office buildings! etc! We do not have the technology today to move enough earth 10,000 feet down to force earths plates to budge! It takes 10 or 20 huge engines just to pressure up a tiny cavern down deep!...........fracking has created over 100 years worth of natural gas and we know we can get another 1000 years worth at the current usages! Folks this is amazing! Now were getting oil with it! This has created so many needed jobs and enough tax revenue to keep this country afloat! Contrary to popular belief oil companies pay around 41% in taxes!.............GM and Fannia Mae arnt going to cover the 67 million Obama has on welfare!

The Grizz profile image

The Grizz 4 years ago

Is fracking safe? If it were, would there be so much controversy on the issue? When I posted my HubPages article on the same subject, it was met with outright denial by one of the comments the article received.

Fracking does provide a viable concern regarding water usage, chemicals used in the bore hole, potential contamination of aquifers below the bore casing, etc.

In addition, the effluent from the bore hole is, and need to be, treated as a hazardous waste. The State of New York put a moratorium in the recent past on horizontal drilling permits (because of the question of safety in the fracking process). The State of Pennsylvania had its Governor weighing in on water issues in the Eastern part of the State. Oil and gas exploration companies in Ohio put a controversial plan together for its landmen to allay landowners' concerns about fracking. That was leaked to the news media and created more furor. In Colorado, a grassroots movement is being started to prevent oil and gas operators from fracking in and near neighborhoods and schools.

While the oil and gas industry does provide jobs, what long-term effects does its practices have? The PR guy from Louisiana mentioned that the price of natural gas is low, due to fracking. He linked utility company pricing to consumers to this. However, the question remains, why do our gas bills seemingly increase in winter? If supply is so high, and costs are so low, explain that, please.

Meanwhile, frack away. The oil and gas industry is renowned for a bumper sticker that reads, "Earth First. We'll drill the other planets later."

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

The Grizz,It's all about money I'm afraid. The world seems to be getting greedier as each year goes by. If it is really true that we already have a 100 year supply (see one of the comments above), what is the big thing to frack so much more now?

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

How ironic. Today I saw a bumper sticker that said "no frickin frackin" and I had no idea what it meant. Then I came across your Hub. Thanks for the information about a topic I previously knew nothing about.

Larry Wall 4 years ago

To The Grizz:

That 100 year supply is a guess at best and that is based on a predicted increase in usage. If natural gas becomes the fuel of choice for powering cars, that 100 year supply will drop rapidly. Thus, it is best if we find additional supplies now and not come up short like we did in the 1970s, when people in the south were saying "let the Yankees freeze" as they tried to find ways to stop gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico from going to the north.

Until the last 18 months or so natural gas was at about a break even level regarding the available supply and demand. We did import some gas from Canada. The demand for that gas increased in the winter, thus when demand increases and the supply stays fairly level, the price goes up.

I suspect you will see lower prices for natural gas this year and lower prices for electricity produced from natural gas because of the amount of gas that has come on line. If you are using fuel oil, much of which has already been produced with higher price oil, it will take longer for those prices to drop, if the price of oil continues to drop.

By the way, I use to be a PR guy for the oil and gas industry in Louisiana. After 22 years of service, I was called into the boss' office and handed a separation agreement to look over but was told it is not negotiable.

Thus I owe nothing to the industry. However, as a former news reporter I always tried to be as factual as possible and carried that over into my PR career. Are there possible dangers from Fracking--Yes.

Do they need to be examined--yes. Does that justify an outright ban on Fracking--no. Sometimes you have to put activities into actual practice and study the impacts and then make the necessary adjustment. Fracking has been used on vertical wells for decades. No one thought anything about it. Now it is big news. I assure you, the issue of Fracking horizontal wells used in the shale plays has bee under study for several years. To the best of my knowledge, when done correctly. I am confident that every regulatory agency in each state is working with the industry to make sure that the practice is safe and does not cause any harm.

Can I guarantee nothing will ever go wrong--no. I cannot guarantee I will be alive tomorrow--I plan to be, but no one can predict the future with absolute certainty.

The Grizz profile image

The Grizz 4 years ago

Barbara Kay:

It is all about the money. You are right about the greed and the supply of natural gas reserves.

Why is fracking such a "big thing?", you asked. Because the natural gas is not going to be used for US industry. Those reserves are earmarked for China. China, currently, is the largest consumer of oil. It outpaces India and Japan, combined, in terms of oil usage.

As the US moves from coal-fired to gas-fired power plants, China will follow suit. The cost of natural gas is relatively low now. However, demand, especially from nations like China will drive up those prices, while the oil and gas companies develop that resource at a relatively low cost.

It's all about the bottom line. 'Follow the money', as was said during the Watergate situation in 1972, Greed has gone global. The US production and supply of natural gas won't be used in the US only. Once global economies "switch on" their infrastructure for natural gas, the price won't be as low as it is currently. That means US-produced oil and natural gas will increase for US consumers, too.

The oil and gas industry is producing locally so it can sell globally.

Those who would dispute the above can be asked, if natural gas is so plentiful in the US (which it is) and so "cheap" (which it is), why don't we have natural gas filling stations at which we can fuel our vehicles? Why aren't natural gas conversion kits for gas-burning automobiles readily available in the US? If we have a 150-year supply of natural gas sitting in the Raton Basin alone, why do we not make it readily available now?

Answer: there's more money to be made on US consumers' addiction to gasoline. As long as there is no demand for natural gas-powered vehicles and, subsequently, for natural gas filling stations, we'll be paying dearly and often for our gasoline.

Why have the Big Oil companies been reporting historically huge quarterly profits for the past several years? Why, indeed.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

ktrapp, I didn't either until it came to our area. Thanks for reading.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

The Grizz, Thanks for the comments and it makes more sense to me now why they are doing so much drilling.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Larry for so much input.

Larry Wall 4 years ago

The Grizz:

I was going to let the issue drop, but you raised a couple of points that need answering. The primary answer is time. There are not enough natural gas vehicles on the road to justify the investment of the infrastructure you are talking about. Fueling a car with natural gas will take longer than fuel it with gasoline because the natural gas has to be pressurized so you will have enough to get a resonable distance. The supplies you hear about, 100 years, 150 years, are only estimates and you can only produce it so fast so you cannot make it readily available today. If you pump too much out too quickly, you lose the pressure that pushes the gas to the surface and a lot of the gas is left in the formation and cannot be recovered. That is why states have conservation laws that set limits in many cases on how much an oil or gas well can produce in a day. It is not market control. It is an effort to insure energy supplies for future years. If you do not have storage facilities for it or enough of a market, you are not going to produce it. That is a basic business principle.

Major oil companies have been reporting large profits for several years. If you go back a few years you will find that they were losing money. I did a Hub about sometimes oil companies cannot help but make money, because they must sell their oil at global prices, or stockholders, governing bodies that collect severance taxes and royalties and individual royalty owners will get very upset. They expect the maximum return on their investment. If you had an one-eight royalty interest in an oil well where the price was $100 per barrel, you would get $12.50 cents for each barrel produced. If that company decided to sell its oil for $50 a barrel, you would only get $6.25 per barrel. Would you be happy about that--probably not.

I understand your frustration. I understand that people do not like paying high gasoline prices. I do not like it. But unfortunately, everyone does not understand the intricacies of the oil and gas industry.

Larry Wall 4 years ago

Barbara Kay:

I want to thank you and congratulate you on moderating a very successful and worthwhile Hub. I think everyone, including myself, has learned a great deal about the issue and how it is not just some new idea that popped overnight.

You took an issue and you had an opinion. After reading all the comments, your opinion changed a little and that represents the actions of a fair and open-minded individual. You probably still have concerns about fracking. I have never written a hub on it but I have tremendous concerns about herbal remedies, but do not know enough yet to write about it.

Thank you for allowing me to be part of this discussion. I think everything has been said at least once. I do promise you that if I learned of any adverse impacts or new rules limiting the use of fracking, I will let you know.

Have a good day.

Larry Wall

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Larry.

moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

I meant to say haystack.

articlesking profile image

articlesking 4 years ago from London

Barbara kay. you are wonderful writer. :)

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks articlesking.

DigbyAdams 4 years ago

I've learned so much from all of you in this discussion. I haven't had time to read all of the sources cited in the comments, but I will over the next few days. Very interesting and detailed discussion. I had a basic knowledge of what fracking is, but I've never seen the issues debated and discussed.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for visiting the hub.

B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

UP, Useful, Interesting, and shared with hub followers and on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. I'll share on Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit, too, if I ever get acquainted with them. When apologists for fracking say it is as safe as asbestos and mercury (see a previous comment), I doubt its safety. And I've learned over and over in my 70 years to never believe or trust the spokespersons and apologists of corporations, especially when they say, "It's absolutely safe and nothing can possibly go wrong." Elections are coming up, and it's time to vote out of office the politicians who side with irresponsible corporations that put profit, jobs, and economic growth ahead of the sustained health of our planet home and the health and safety of workers and consumers and of the living things on which we humans depend. I have been out of work for a year, aside from infrequent day labor, and I barely squeak by on a pittance of Social Security, but it's an insult to suggest it would be a good thing for me, or anyone, to work for a polluter.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

B.Leekley, I'm not sure if they are doing this in your area, but my guess is if they find natural gas there they will. After further research I've learned that it isn't even going to be used in the US, but sold to China. The beauty of our state is its natural resources. If they ruin that I'll be angry. If they ruin our personal water supply, I won't only be angry but we will sue them and I don't even believe in it.

Thanks for commenting and sharing.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Wow, a lot of comments! Thank you for this great hub; I have heard of this process but knew very little about it. Now that I know I am very much against it.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

billybuc, Even in this area, many people don't know what the word fracking means. There have been meetings in all the towns around here and they still haven't heard about it. We've signed petitions etc and aren't getting very far. I just hope it doesn't affect our ground water.

Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

Hi, it seems to be a very old hub that I am viewing now. You have selected a very good issue for writing. It is so much a deserving point to be discussed and highlighted.

You have highlighted both dangers and benefits of fracking. So I do not find anything more to comment here. Already, Larry Wall has cleared most of the disputes regarding this process. So, I hope they must have took all precautions to solve the bad effects of this before going ahead.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA Author

Venkatachari, No, the bad effects are still happening in different areas of our country. They have started in my area, but we haven't seen anything happen yet.

Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

I hope you may move a petition along with other victims through the local bodies to the environment authority to get it solved to some extent.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA Author

Venkatachari, That has been going on to no avail. The oil and gas companies have a lot of money behind them.

Larry Wall 2 years ago

Just a few responses:

1. No activity that removes resources from the earth, be it, oil. coal, natural gas, gold, silver, coal and even water are 100 percent safe. The possibility of an accident is always possible.

2. China has a booming economy, the more we help that economy, the less likely they are to cause problems for us. We dropped atomic bombs on Japan and then help to rebuilt. They are our allies today.

3. If the price of oil keeps going down, the amount of fracking will decreased because it is more expensive than traditional drilling.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA Author

Larry, My only answer is that if we ruin our water supply, what have we gained?

Larry Wall 2 years ago

Fracking, if not handled properly, can damage water supplies in areas where they use water close to the surface. This has been learned and new approaches have been made to eliminate that problem.

There are other threats to our water supplies that need more attention. In much of Louisiana, many communities get their water from the Mississippi River. There is considerable waste material and chemical runnoff. In my city, Baton Rouge, we have access to artisian wells, but they are not going to last for ever. We are going to have to learn how to use seawater and develop ways of getting it where it is needed.

I do not work for the oil and gas industry any longer. I was dismissed without stated cause and a generous settlement a few years ago. It was a personality issue. Most would assume that I would be anti-industry. However, I know many people constantly working to address the issues with fracking and a safe water supply--seeking better solutions all the time. I think we are all going to be all right.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA Author

Larry, Thank you for your insight.

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