Published on July 15th, 2013 | by gatsbyadmin0
Fracking in Colorado
Fracking has certainly gained some attention in Colorado and the entire country in the past few years, and unless you pay close attention to the news, you may not quite know why. This controversial alternative energy method is relatively new and aims to extract previously inaccessible natural gas from deep inside the earth. There are both pros and cons to fracking – however, living in Colorado with rich natural gas reserves, it’s important to understand both the social and environmental impact that fracking can and will have on our beautiful state. Is it worth the risk?
Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, which involves the fracturing of rock by a pressurized liquid. Sometimes these fractures can occur naturally – some kinds of veins and dikes for example – but the controversy surrounds induced hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracturing. The process usually involves water mixed with sand and a variety of chemicals, which is injected at a high pressure into a wellbore to create the fractures, which causes gas, petroleum, well-water and other types of geothermal energy to flow into the well. Fracking can also be used for other things, such as stimulating groundwater wells and preconditioning rock for mining purposes.
Proponents of fracking point out many things. For example, the cost of generating electricity with gas is now relatively the same as producing electricity via coal, which has lead to the United States having a very diverse energy portfolio. In turn, natural gas releases two to three times less carbon into the atmosphere as coal does, slowing the process of global warming. Natural gas plants are also relatively cheap to build, and easy to scale to meet future energy demands. However, it’s hard for anyone to deny – supporters of fracking are hard to find these days.
Opponents of fracking, on the other hand, are in relatively generous supply, especially in Colorado. These disadvantages are commonly referred to as “fraccidents” and include a variety of different things, from drinking water being reported poisoned, polluted air, unexplained deaths of animals common to areas where fracking takes place, and numerous industrial disasters, explosions, and earthquakes. Additionally, because fracking involves both vertical and horizontal drilling, land rights have been a common issue when it comes to deciding where to do the next round of fracking. And while the natural gas plants are cheap to built, the environmental cost is much higher for those living in places like Colorado, where many have moved simply to enjoy the outdoors and scenery.
In 2008, the citizens of Colorado won a major victory when the state government approved a suite of protections for Colorado’s public health and environment – some of the strongest in the country. But problems persist. According to state records, an oil and gas-related spill ends up in ground or surface water every three and a half days. And in 2011, Congress found that industry blasted 1.3 million gallons of diesel into wells in the state – going back on a promise not to do so. Going into the future, it’s definitely important to make sure that promises such as these aren’t broken again, but also to strike a balance between preserving Colorado’s natural state, which is loved by so many, and exploring new alternative energy options, which are needed by so many.
Here’s an awesome & to-the-point video explaining fracking and its’ pros and cons.