This post is part of a Green Moms Carnival about fracking (hydraulic fracturing). Read more posts exploring this timely and important topic over at Big Green Purse.
Like most of you, I don't know that much about fracking. But I do know that despite the promise of job creation, greater energy independence, and lower carbon emissions through the domestic extraction of natural gas, plenty of folks are worried. That is because hydraulic fracking involves drilling a well, and then blasting chemical-laced water (including toxins like benzene or 2-Butoxyethanol, commonly called 2-BE, a toxic solvent) and sand underground to break apart rock and release gas (source). Fracking also produces millions of gallons of toxic wastewater, which creates the possibility of above-ground spills that result in surface-water contamination (this has already happened). The process has repeatedly been linked to water contamination and other environmental problems. I hope to learn even more about the issue soon by watching Gasland.
Should you be worried? Well, the big kicker for me in all of this is that fracking was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the 2005 energy bill, which means that the entire process is happening with minimal regulation. So a process that potentially threatens drinking water is not subject to the regulation that is supposed to. . . protect our drinking water. In the absence of oversight by the E.P.A., states are cobbling together their own regulation.