At one time, natural gas was seen as little more than a superfluous byproduct of the oil extraction process. But once the potential of natural gas as an energy source became clear, a new era in energy production was soon off and running. Today, natural gas accounts for 23 percent of the world’s total energy consumption, and the International Energy Agency is projecting that by 2035, natural gas use across the globe will expand by an astounding 44 percent.
One of the reasons why governments and industry are pushing natural gas so hard at the present time is because of its reputation as a low-carbon emission energy source. All fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide during combustion, and natural gas is no exception. But its emissions are significantly lower than coal or oil, and as such, it is being promoted as an “alternative” form of energy that can help combat global warming.
There is an important part of the story, however, that is being left out by the oil companies and their obedient government servants. While natural gas at the point of consumption is indeed a relatively clean form of energy, oil and gas companies have begun using an extremely violent and invasive technique to extract natural gas from the ground that is wreaking havoc upon the earth and leaving a trail of contamination and wanton destruction across the United States. This technique is known as hydraulic fracturing, or “hydro-fracking” for short.
It is possible you have never heard of fracking before. But if you should happen to live near communities like Dimock, Pennsylvania; DISH, Texas; Pavillion, Wyoming, or dozens of other devastated locations in many different states, the chances are you have become all too familiar with this term, and you are also probably quite aware of the damage that fracking can do to the air, the water, the land, and to human health.
Hydraulic Fracturing: How it Works
Natural gas is the usable form of methane, and this organically produced gas is found in isolated pockets frequently located in deposits of shale far beneath the earth’s surface. In order to release this methane, it is necessary to break into and through these shale deposits, and hydraulic fracturing is the most powerful and effective method available for doing this. Holes are drilled over areas believed to hold large methane pockets trapped beneath layers of shale—holes that can extend for more than a mile straight down and several more miles horizontally. A mixture of water, sand, and chemicals is injected into these holes at extremely high pressure, and this fractures the rock and allows escaping methane to be transported back to the surface— along with a toxic stew of used-up fracking fluid that will now be contaminated with heavy metals in addition to the various caustic chemicals it already contained.
When oil companies lease land from farmers and other rural landowners, they assure these folks that hydro-fracking is a clean and safe practice. But in reality, the exact opposite is true – fracking operations produce huge cesspools of smelly and toxic discarded fracking fluids, contaminated wells and aquifers, dying cattle and wildlife, huge dead brown patches of earth where crops used to grow, foul-smelling emissions of chemical pollutants, methane leaks that can cause mysterious explosions, and unexplained outbreaks of disease and ill health.
An Industry Unchained
Companies that harvest natural gas have received extraordinary protection from Congress. They have been made exempt from regulation and monitoring under the Superfund Law and the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, and when the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was passed, it included a clause that exempted hydro-fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act. This clause has become known as the “Halliburton Loophole,” in honor of former Vice President and all around sinister character Dick Cheney, who was responsible for crafting the Energy Policy Act and pushing it through into law. The Energy Policy Act also allows natural gas companies to keep the identity of the chemicals they use in hydro-fracking fluid secret from the public, supposedly so the information can’t be stolen by competitors.
All of this has allowed the companies extracting natural gas to operate as a true outlaw industry, setting new standards for arrogance and a total lack of accountability. Even though the natural gas harvesters are not required to disclose what kind of chemicals they use, thanks to whistle-blowers and leaked industry documents, we now know that the chemicals they use include numerous carcinogens and other highly toxic substances that are poisonous to biological entities. Methane in its raw form is a foul gas that can also contaminate the air and the water, and reminiscent of Lake Erie in the 1970s, in some cases it has caused wells to actually catch on fire.
Some of the various illnesses and health problems that have been reported by people living close to fracking operations include:
- Neurological disorders
- Brain damage
- Respiratory problems
- Eye irritation
- Liver and kidney problems
Even beyond what is already known, there is something else about fracking that the oil and gas industry does not want us to know, and that many of their paid lackeys in big government and establishment science continue to deny. Even though more study must be done, there is a real possibility that fracking may in some instances actually cause earthquakes.
Rogue Industry, Rogue Government
We are constantly told that agencies like the EPA, the FDA, Homeland Security, and the ATF are here to protect us and keep us safe from all the big baddies out there who would like to do us harm. As a result of these efforts, people’s freedom to choose and decide how to live their own lives are constantly being threatened or denied by a Nanny State that sometimes seems determined to interfere in every aspect of our lives. But when something terrible really is going on, where you have an out-of-control industry that is literally ravaging the entire American landscape with impunity, leaving behind a trail of ruined water supplies, toxic air, dying animals, and human beings suddenly besieged with a whole host of horrific and sometimes fatal health problems, suddenly the government that supposedly cares so much about us simply turns its back and looks the other way.
Hydro-fracking might very well be the most dangerous and destructive industrial practice currently going on within the borders of the United States. It is incumbent on all Americans to educate themselves about the incredible damage that this activity is doing, and to do everything they can to fight against any attempts to expand hydro-fracking into the areas where they live. We need to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels completely and turn to alternative energy, but we must not let ourselves be fooled—natural gas is not alternative energy, it is a fossil fuel just like all the others, and the practice of hydro-fracking must be stopped at all costs.
Hydro-fracking is a violent assault against God’s great earth, and it is an activity that is being pursued by greedy elements who care for nothing else except their own obscene profit margins. The bottom line is that if we continue to allow them to get away with what they are doing, in the end we are all going to be fracked.
©2011 Off the Grid News