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The Ethics of Fracking

2014, Environment  -   18 Comments

Drilling for natural gas or fracking has been going on in the United States for sixty years. New techniques called "slick-water, high-pressure, horizontal drilling" introduced in the last decade have made the extraction of natural gas cheaper but at what cost? As this industrial process encroaches on our residential and agricultural areas, negative affects to our environment and health are becoming evident yet fracking continues to move forward despite any long-term studies on the damage it may cause.

Fracking is a way of drilling into the subsurface and then accessing that material through a series of injections of a high-pressure solution that basically cracks open this rock and allows the gas to then come back up to the surface. On the one hand you have to think about the benefits you get out of tracking. You get cheaper energy and you get jobs, you get energy independence so that we're not held over a barrel by OPEC in the Middle East. All of these things have obvious benefits. Fracking is also considered as a potential "bridge energy" that will transition us perhaps from some other fuels that we're running out of, such as coal and oil.

When you talk about cons you have to include the potential for damage to the environment the fracking can do. So if you look at the process or fracking, first there is this injecting of poisonous cocktail liquids into the ground that has the danger of water pollution. Then you have the process of actually methane escaping into the atmosphere. Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas, about 24-28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Also there's a lot of water that's required to do hydraulic fracturing, several million gallons typically. That water is injected and then it will come back up to the surface. Now it comes back up with a frac-fluid but also with some other materials that had been down there - typically high dissolved solids - and that gets to be an issue of how do you dispose of these properly and not cause problems somewhere else.

Ratings: 7.12/10from 65 users.

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18 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Nancy Vail

    Great film...reposted.

  2. brianbigelow

    Many of the points make sense in this documentary. A few however are a bit farfetched.

  3. cdnatdq

    Fracking increasing AIDS in the local communities... OK. 'Lost me six minutes into this.

  4. batvette

    For perspective it might be noted that all petroleum extraction has a high environmental cost.

  5. User_001

    HAHAHAHAHAAAA....... "Physician gag order" @ 18:00

    Man these guys get funnier than ever! Here's the scenario. You get sick from fracking practices and there's really no one that can help you cause physicians can't discuss chemicals exposed to! Basically the patient is F'ed!!!

    1. Fabien L

      Yep, totally Fracked! Which insane judge grants such a gag order? Seems to me it should be easy to reverse it with an appeal when the gag order puts the life or well being of the patient at risk though.

      Unless a gag order is final and can't even be discussed in court? Can't say I am familiar with it since I never heard of it in Canada.

    2. Hardcard

      Yep, when it gets to the point where doctors have to sign confidentiality agreements with oil companies in order to practice, it becomes obvious that something is rotten.
      It's also funny that the oil industry has been allowed to ignore environmental regulations for the last 30 years just because it has the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government by the balls (just like the banking sector)
      The land of the free and the home of the brave, right? LOL

  6. Picaboca

    Research both sides; watch FrackNation

  7. Fabien L

    Anti-fracking documentary, a lot of the points presented make sense. But when they ask the question "Would God frack?" they greatly damage the credibility of the whole thing. There is no need to bring in religion into the debate when scientific facts are sufficient to expose the shortcomings of the process. I can only see it as a weak attempt to gather support from a portion of the population that have a disdain for logical scientific thinking.

    1. Notchbeard

      I literally stopped watching it at that point lol

    2. User_001

      You gotta learn to power through this! Be strong!

    3. Fabien L

      I am against fracking within 10 km of any well or habitation because it can ruin potable water and poses serious risks to human health.

      I don't care to know what anyone thinks about a "Fracking God" when it is supposed that God created everything including radioactivity, gamma rays, earthquakes, hurricanes, ebola, tuberculosis, AIDS and whatever else that can kill humans.

    4. johnBas5

      Those religious people don't react on logical reasons but on identifying with their predetermined values.
      To reach those people you can't present things any other way.

    5. Scott Cannon

      Like conservative Republicans?

    6. johnBas5

      Certainly seems that way :D.
      I'm from Europe and what I hear from what happens in the USA is quite horrible.

    7. Scott Cannon

      There are many points of view with fracking. Religious is just as valid as political and scientific. All people need to be considered, don't you think?

    8. Fabien L

      I don't see any link between God and fracking. A point of view needs to be considered when there is a link with the topic. If I were to say Satan, Zeus or Aliens would most certainly frack, I don't see what relevance it would have. In the same way, saying God would not frack is not relevent.

    9. johnBas5

      Of course you have to keep an eye on crazy people!