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Guide to Hydraulic Fracturing

Updated on December 24, 2014

introduction to the Guide to Hydraulic Fracturing

It is hard to be fair and balanced in a lens about hydraulic fracturing. Cigarettes are a product that when used as directed -- set one end on fire and inhale the other end -- cause cancer. Likewise hydraulic fracturing, even when the technique is used as its proponents say it should, adds to land pollution, air pollution, water pollution, and cancer. Nevertheless, I can say that the pro-fracking people believe that they are "supplying America's energy needs." Considering that alternatives like renewables cost less and pollute not at all, it is hard to accept the claims of hydraulic fracturing. And I personally do not believe them at all.


Source: Joshua Doubek

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

What the frack is hydraulic fracturing?

This is an extraction technique that splits strata by injecting chemical solutions under extreme force (pounds per square inch) and speed. Anyone who knows basic geology or seismology or volcanology knows that the sheer weight of rock puts pressure on the rock the furthest down. In nature, rock can fracture under the pressure. Any miner can tell you about cave-ins and any physicist can tell you that nature abhors a vacuum. It will fill empty space. A simple way to convince yourself of the reality of this pressure is to lay on the ground and have people gently place heavy rocks on you until you are covered up. No matter how gentle your friends are, you will understand why this used to be a way of torturing people during the Salem Witch Trials and other inquisitions. The point is that nature will naturally fracture rock strata. Oil companies induce fracturing using the technique described.

In the photograph slightly enlarged here one can see Halliburton employees.


Source: Joshua Doubek

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Recent History

The Oil Embargo by the OPEC cartel encouraged the Carter Administration to permit experiments to extract oil from shale and other sources previously thought not worth the effort when easy gushing oil wells were everywhere. However, when Americans were waiting in line at filling stations that were running out of gasoline, it seemed at the time to be wise to get our fix for our oil addiction, excuse me, our oil from those "other sources previously thought not worth the effort".

Many people laughed at the idea of shale oil extraction (and perhaps they should have ridiculed the idea more for the sake of public health) but a few companies kept at it.

Then gas prices in the past few years soared to levels never seen before in America. There was a time that gasoline was never above 25 cents a gallon for more than a few days before a gas war between service stations brought them back down. That of course was "the Good Old Days" when we did not care what we were breathing and when service stations actually had service with young men coming out to clean your windshield, check your oil and your tire pressure. And you did not have to get out of your car because they would bring the credit card signing thing to the driver's window.

Full service is still around but we call them filling stations because we usually fill the tank ourselves. Electric cars are taking over but in these Bad Old Days of polluted air from internal combustion smoke and carbon monoxide, the oil companies are hanging on desperately and squeezing every drop of liquified dinosaur out of the ground (and under the oceans and Arctic Ice) in a last ditch effort that might make humans go the way of the dinosaur. The oil companies even pay some deniers to deny climate change because if they did not, then nations might start banning oil companies and switching over to wind, solar, geothermal, and other non-fossil energy at an even faster rate.

Fracking can be seen as last ditch desperation, as a temporary measure until cleaner energy is cheaper than dirty, as callous uncaring use of the Earth, as corruption on the part of the government officials who permit it, as the wrong way to achieve energy independence, and as a way to get more natural gas. It can be seen a lot of ways but it cannot be seen as wise.

Natural gas is one of the cleaner products of the fossil fuel industry but that does not say much. Clean as compared to crude petroleum? Clean as compared to coal? Yes but natural gas is still a fossil fuel. It is non-renewable. Its use puts off hard decisions. And natural gas is a greenhouse gas.

Blinding themselves to these truths, many states see fracking as a blessing rather than the curse it is. They see short-term profits and ignore the long-term costs. They even have the nerve to question the patriotism of anyone who does not want pipelines from fracking sites. However, people are finally beginning to see through this tactic and past it to the dangers of fracking.


Image Source: Fracking Lawyer

Author: Ostroff Law

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Dangers of Fracking

These are short.

Scott Smith: The Dangers of Fracking Oil [EXCERPT]

No data on environment before fracking so frackers can claim area was always polluted. A gas industry employee, an energy industry investor and a resident reveal insider information.

This video is best for people who know nothing about fracking and want a simple basic introduction.

Want to sue the frackers? Try this law firm.

Dangers of Fracking

The very method of fracking is to pump chemicals into the ground. This is a cocktail that includes around 200 chemicals -- most of which are carcinogenic (cancer-causing) -- and that often seeps to places where it is least wanted. Two places in particular are into people's tap water and into the aquifers. The Ogallala Aquifer is said to be the largest aquifer in the world. Once pumped dry or contaminated by poison, not even our great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren will live to see it refilled and re-purified. It gives a whole new meaning to the term filling station when you contemplate the millions of years necessary.

In case you have not heard, some cities are fighting over water and getting very nasty about water rights. And simpletons in the Oil Patch and the natural gas industry wonder why anyone would oppose a pipeline going through sensitive areas? Air for brains I suppose.

The photograph is of an ExxonMobil fracking site in Germany.


image: Battenbrook

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Fracking The Eagle Ford Shale: Big Oil And Bad Air On The Texas Prairie - plus . . .

Beki Adam of Chantry Farm talks about the dangers of Fracking.

I like these three videos because you get to see and hear regular ordinary people.

Fracking Documentaries

These are long videos are for the serious person with a long attention span.

Revelations from a former oil executive.

Ian Crane used to work for Schlumberger.

Giant sinkholes and dangers of Fracking with special guest Henning Kemner

The correct word is affects not effects but still a worthwhile video.

Fighting Back

What does a parent do if their child becomes fatally ill from the noxious fumes of near-by workers? Simply watch their child die? What does a family do if its faucets, hydrants and taps spew flames? Drink the stuff? Tell themselves that this is progress and they are road kill on that highway of progress? Turn the kitchen sink into the kitchen stove and use the stove to wash dishes?

What does a neighborhood do if the neighbors get sick and cannot work or go to school? Tell them that they are lazy? Blame them for ruining real estate values and ignore the real culprit? Turn on each other? Argue and pretend that poison is good for you and poisoning the neighborhood provides jobs? Simply file for those health insurance benefits that the news is always talking about? Pretend like cancer is easily cured? Apply for work at the fracking site in order to pay for the cost of doctors and the cost of moving to another neighborhood a thousand miles away from the fracking site? Tell the neighbors goodbye and the next time you see them will be at their funeral?

What does a community do if frackers come to town? Sing glory Hallelujah!!! ? Get a job with the fracking company? Are you even trained for that kind of work? Build new schools? Get a mortgage for a McMansion? Run up credit card debt now that this is a boom town? Make out last wills and testaments for the cancer cluster that is to come? Thank the mayor and county council and economic development board for all their hard work in bringing the frackers to town? Get used to pools of strange chemicals on the ground? Hire thugs to beat up anyone who objects to the frackers coming to town?

Fight Back

Well . . . if you have doubts and meet others who have doubts, then you organize and fight back. You get an environmental law firm and you pressure prosecutors. Protests won’t do it. Political pressure and economic alternatives (like green businesses and eco-entrepreneurship) is the way.

books about fracking - (What a concept)

Might as well read something while the poisons are killing you. Who knows? You might learn something that will save you and your family's lives.

Fracking The UK
Fracking The UK

The Europeans are buckling under pressure to lift bans and allow fracking under "regulations". Yeh right. Since when have regulators regulated?


a pause before the end of this little Hub Page

Okay, you have read almost all of this HubPage that was never allowed to be a Squidoo lens. You have probably read or seen far more controversial articles than this. Perhaps you agree with me that fracking is a bad idea especially if your tap water catches on fire or your baby is poisoned. Perhaps you work for a fracking company and you don't care about the environmental damage as long as your paycheck does not bounce. We both know what that makes you when you prostitute your soul and your conscience for money. And God will send you to hell if the police and prosecutors don't get you in this life.

But enough of all that rancor. You have heard worse whether you are pro-fracking (which makes you a whore) or anti-fracking (brave hero). So what was Squidoo's problem with this lens? Was Seth Godin invested in hydraulic fracturing companies? If so, then it would explain much.

And by the way, this is not about rich versus poor or capitalism versus democracy. Many opponents of fracking are dirt poor and many are filthy rich. Beverly Hills residents are known for being the most vocal opponents of fracking. Any one who has ever been in Los Angeles knows that there are oil derricks all over town. So it is not like they don't have stock in oil companies. However, even rich folks draw the line at this. No. This is about hypocrisy. The head of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, lies so much to stockholders saying that he will stop funding climate change denier kooks. He lies so much that even Rockefellers (JD Senior founded Standard Oil) are disinvesting in the company. Rex is such a hypocrite that he complained about fracking in his neighborhood. He does not mind it in YOUR neighborhood. He does not care if you drink toxic chemicals or breathe poisonous air or get cancer. He does not care about your children or your ailing parents or your friends and neighbors. But he does care about himself. What an S. O. B. !!! What a hypocrite.

Now, if we could only get the Koch Brothers to live downwind of one of their toxic plants since Superstorm Sandy and the other climate change disasters knocking at their doors are not enough of a wake up call . . . .

The Fracking War: A Novel
The Fracking War: A Novel

Sometimes fiction brings it home faster than facts.


Is there fracking being done near you? - Have you noticed anything odd?

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