The method of fracking is as sophisticated as it’s controversial. Lately, fracking has turn into a high-profile situation within the presidential election, as President Trump falsely claimed that Biden, if elected, would ban fracking. This is an explainer on how fracking works and the way Biden plans to method it.
What Is Fracking?
Fracking is the extra widespread identify for the method of hydraulic fracturing, which is a technique of extracting oil, pure gasoline, geothermal power, or water from deep underground. In the USA, it is primarily used to extract pure gasoline and oil from shale rock.
Step one of fracking is drilling a deep properly, lined with steel casing to prevent contaminating groundwater. As soon as the drill reaches its goal depth (up to one to two miles deep), it begins drilling horizontally, up to thousands of feet away from the unique properly. Then, a form of perforating gun made up of explosive fees punctures tiny holes within the metal casing alongside the horizontal section of the properly. A combination of water, sand and chemical compounds is then pumped down the properly at a excessive stress, and this combination is particularly designed to seep into the rock formation and broaden the fissures — that is when the fracturing occurs. The stress on the rock formation causes the specified substance — whether or not that is oil, pure gasoline or water — to return to the floor. In brief, fracking includes drilling deep underground and spraying a combination of water, sand and chemical compounds to launch pure parts to the floor.
Why Is It Controversial?
Fracking is a hotly-debated matter, with simply as many advocates as critics. Its advocates say that fracking has decreased natural gas prices, therefore lowering gas bills for consumers. Fracking additionally will increase gasoline safety and reduces the USA’ dependence on international oil. In 2019, oil manufacturing in the USA reached its highest level in 14 years. After we’re producing extra of those assets, we’re much less depending on sourcing them from international nations, and due to this fact protecting extra money and safety within the states. Fracking has additionally created jobs, though these precise numbers are under dispute and difficult to separate from the overall oil and gasoline business.
Whereas the financial results of fracking appear pretty optimistic, the environmental results inform a distinct story. Critics of fracking say that it proposes critical environmental threats. For one, fracking is extremely water-intensive, and can strain local communities in areas where water is scarce. Many of the water utilized in fracking is not recycled, and there are additionally environmental prices of transporting such giant quantities of it. And since that water is not recycled, there are issues about its disposal, significantly round groundwater contamination: the EPA has found evidence that hydraulic fracturing actions can influence ingesting water assets. In 2013, three wastewater treatments plants in Pennsylvania were charged for discharging fracking wastewater into the Allegheny River — the water supply for the town of Pittsburg. Along with water disposal, there have additionally been points at fracking websites. The New York Occasions reported that greater than 18.4 million gallons of oils and chemical compounds have been spilled, leaked, or misted into the air, soil and waters of North Dakota from 2006 by means of early October 2014.
In areas with heavy fracking, there are larger cases of earthquakes, air pollution and premature or high-risk pregnancies. Along with real-time environmental issues, many critics additionally consider that fracking is a short-term solution, that is diverting power away from the event of extra sustainable strategies of power manufacturing.
Biden believes in managing fracking, however not eliminating it. He stated in a speech in Pittsburg: “I am not banning fracking,” in all probability in rebuttal to Trump’s false claims that he plans to do so. Whereas fracking just isn’t explicitly talked about in Biden’s environmental plan, he plans to “require aggressive methane air pollution limits for brand spanking new and current oil and gasoline operations.” He additionally plans to “ban new oil and gasoline allowing on public lands and waters.”
As a presidential candidate, Kamala Harris’ platform included banning fracking. However as Biden’s vp, she’s aligned together with his plan. In the course of the vice presidential debate, she repeated that Biden wouldn’t ban fracking, and that his administration would focus on creating new jobs in renewable energy.