Annotated Bibliography — What are the Environmental Impacts Caused By Hydraulic Fracturing?
AnnotatedBibliography — What are the Environmental Impacts Caused ByHydraulic Fracturing?
Burton,Allen., Basu, Niladri., Ellis, Brian., Kapo, Katherine., Entrekin,Sally, and Nadelhofferyy, Knute. Hydraulic “Fracking”: AreSurface Water Impacts An Ecological Concern? ToxicolChem33 (2014):1679–1689. Print
Burton,Basu, Ellis, Kapo, Entrekin and Nadelhofferyy sought to investigatewhether the surface water from hydraulic fracking has an impact onthe ecology. The authors acknowledge that while the use of thehigh-volume hydraulic fracturing is an unconventional method forrecovering inaccessible natural gas and oil, it is increasingly beingadopted for exploration practices in the United States and otherregions of the world. The study finds that the technique can havefar-reaching implication on the surrounding. Their conclusion followsfrom the concerns that the operation creates increased erosion thattriggers adverse sedimentation to the water masses, consequentlythreatening the aquatic ecosystems. The deposition is associated withhabitat fragmentation, altered biogeochemical cycling, loss of streamriparian zones and the fall in the available surface and hyporheicwater volumes. In this regard, the authors conclude that the effectsof fracturing do not differ from the pollutant agriculturalpractices. Nevertheless, the authors acknowledge that striving toconduct proper siting and exercising appropriate control andmonitoring can help check on the risks of environmental pollutions.However, the feasibility of this intervention is constrained by thelack of adequate data for predicting the risks, as well as preventingthem in a timely manner. The discussions suggest the need forenhancing research to bridge the gap on information necessary.
Thissource is relevant because it investigates the impact of hydraulicfracturing on the environment. It supports the view that the practiceis harmful to the environment and needs to be checked to supportenvironmental sustainability. Indeed, the article goes further toprovide recommendations that the practice must adopt to protect andconserve the environment. The recommendations that the articleprovide are well supported by reasons in the discussions, and createsthe allowance to argue they are practical in transforming the outlookof the hydraulic fracturing process from the less pollutant to highlypollutant. Certainly, a source is potentially beneficial toenvironmental protection practices.
Thisarticle is unique compared to the rest of the articles because itendeavored to investigate the subject by narrowing on one particulararea: the impact of surface water on the aquatic ecology. Theparticular focus of the study allows the report to document differentways that the hydraulic fracturing methodologies could affect theenvironment through water pollution. It differs with others that areinterested in general issues such as earthquakes, air emissions, andhuman health. In essence, the area that this study focuses is one ofthe critical angles by which the impact of hydraulic fracturing canbe ascertained measured. Indeed, the question of how the processaffects the environment cannot be only judged through generalization— it requires an in-depth understanding of how pollution plays outconcerning particular process and this article succeeds by itsconcentrating on a single parameter. In doing so, the study isimportant in bridging the gap in knowledge, thereby benefitingpractice, and complementing the existent literature. The report isexceptional because it presents vivid discussions on one of the areasthat will interest policymakers in their quest for settingregulations to protect the environment. The discussions wouldparticularly benefit policies intended to protect the environment.
ParliamentaryCommission for the Environment. Evaluatingthe environmental impacts of Fracking in New Zealand: Aninterim report. [TheParliamentaryCommission for the Environment], 2014. Print
Thisarticleis essentially an interim report derived from a study that sought toexamine the impact of hydraulic fracturing in New Zealand. The studywas motivated by the need to protect the environment, orchestrated byvarious complaints from the environmental activists regarding thepollutant nature of the hydraulic fracturing methods. The reportpresents evidence of different ways in which the processes pollutethe environment. Notably, the document notes that the formation watercomprises of various hazardous substances that would positivelyaffect the surrounding environment and the health of humans. One ofthese substances is a salt such as calcium carbonate. Although suchsalts may not harm people, they are potentially hazardous to thesmall organism in the soil. The overall impact of the loss of theplants would be declined soil productivity. Moreover, thedecomposition of such salts is slow, meaning it would typically takea long time for the land to return to the original state. While it ispossible to treat the ground using artificial means, the process ofis prohibitively expensive. The second example of substances isradioactive materials such as radium and other heavy metals, whichare carcinogenic if inhaled or ingested. Other pollutants are organiccompounds such as benzene and naphthalene,which are hazardous pollutants of the air.
Thisarticle is relevant because it presents information from a studyinvestigating the impact of fracturing on the environment. Itprovides recommendations that are potentially beneficial in guidingways to inform the efforts of environmental protection andconservation. It presents an angle for which the pollutant nature ofhydraulic fracturing can be judged. Its motivations fit into therealm of the desire to protect the environment to informsustainability utilizing integrated approach perspectives. Byprotecting the environment through minimizing pollution of hydraulicfracturing, the society would be indeed placed to realize economicand health sustainability.
Thisdocument differs from the rest because it reports the findings fromNew Zealand. Ideally, the heterogeneous nature of environmentalconditions inherently implies that the impact of fracturing in oneregion may not be the same as another area. Therefore, by presentingthe state of the issue in the case of New Zealand, the articleprovides rich information to inform common subject generalization.The report content creates the allowance to question whether thefindings of the New Zealand case study is as the same as those ofother regions in the world such as America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Jackson,Robert., Vengosh, Avner., Carey, William., Davies, Richard, Thomas,Sarrah, Sullivan, Francies and Gabrielle, P´etron. The EnvironmentalCosts and Benefits of Fracturing. Annu.Rev. Environ. Resour.39:7 (2014):1–7.36.Print
Thisdocument sought to discuss the environmental benefits and costs offracturing. The authors discuss that the hydraulic fracturingprocesses are relatively economical for exploration of minerals fromthe earth compared to other methods. The method has served as themost cost-effective technique for exploring the natural gas. Despitethis benefit, the associated environmental impacts are far-reaching.The article goes further to acknowledge different remedial measuresthat can be deployed to curb the problem and the underlyingchallenges.
Inessence, they discuss that although it is possible for the hydraulicfracturing process to be conducted in a manner that limits pollution,many conventional practices are done in a hurry and with totaldisregard of the environmental concerns. A part of this problems lieswith the lack of an elaborate legal framework to guide the practice.The authors discuss that, when done poorly, the hydraulic fracturingcan cause surface spills, contaminate drinking water and result inthe wastewater disposal challenge. On the overall, however,fracturing process lends itself to a sustainable approach forexploring natural gas to use for production of electricity, therebyreducing sulfur, mercury, nitrogen and other pollutant gasesexperienced in the generation of electricity using coal. In essence,the problem may not be with the method, but the practice.
Inthis regard, this article is relevant because it investigates theoverall impact of fracturing process on the environment. Its findingsare potentially beneficial in resolving the debate on whether to banor accept the industrial process. This document is significantbecause it goes beyond the regular evaluations of the destructivenature of the hydraulic fracturing in the field to factoring in themarket implications. In doing so, it introduces some of the elementsthat should interest policymakers in making regulations concerningthe process. The article is objective in providing informationnecessary for practice.
Whatsets apart this document from the rest is its relatively neutralperspective. Indeed, in contrast to the other articles, this reportexamines the negative and the positive contribution of fracturing onthe environment. It rises above the subjective view and goes ahead toquantify the impact of the method along the energy consumption cycle.While other articles would have considered the plan to be pollutant,Jackson, Vengosh, Carey, Davies, Sarrah, Sullivan and Gabrielle(2014) find that it might not be as a pollutant as thought because itis the only costs effective approach of exploiting renewable energy.This article is interested in convincing the audience that theevaluations should not just be focused on analyzing how the processaffects the environment negatively, but also how it benefits theenvironment. The evaluation of the subject needs to be informed byobjective cost-benefit analysis. Indeed, such a technique qualifiesthe method as just what the exploration processes need. The documentis also exceptional because it brings into light some of the humanfactors that are to blame for the adverse environmental pollution. Inother words, this document avows the possibilities of the practicefinding solutions to the case of the problem, rather than doing awaywith the hydraulic fracturing.
McDermott-Levy.,Kaktins, Nina, and Sattler, Barbara. Fracturing,the Environment, and Health Newenergy practices may threaten public health. AJN113(2015): 34-38.Print
Thearticle by McDermott-Levy,Kaktins and Sattler discuss fracturing as an energy productionprocess that can potentially threaten the health of communities.Indeed, the report presents diverse perspectives by which thehydraulic fracturing processes could affect people. For instance, inadvancing its argument, the article borrows from the discussions inreviews of practices in different parts of the world. Most notably,discusses that with the increase in the number of drilling sites thatuse the hydraulic fracturing, many people are now at risk of exposureto the harmful substances employed in drilling wells. Many chemicalsused, as well as those derived from the process, have adverse healtheffects that can affect the humans immediately after exposure, yetmany of these could result in chronic health complications such ascancer and asthma. Some examples of pollutant substances include thesalts that leak into the soil, changing the salinity and killing themicroorganisms. These salts could also find their way into the watermasses, threatening the lives of the aquatic life. Another example ofthe mentioned substance is the heavy metals such as lead andradioactive minerals such as Iridium. These substances can beingested by human directly (such as through drinking water) orindirectly (through consumption of contaminated animal products) andare responsible for causing cancer among the people.
Certainly,this document is relevant because, like the rest, discusses differentways in which the fracturing process could harm the environment.Therefore, it supplements the knowledge on the subject. The call toprotect the environment is now a critical issue that concerns therest of the globe. Part of the process of fulfilling this requirementis ensuring that all possible pollutant processes are limited at allcost. The expressed concerns warrant the decision from thepolicymakers to start thinking ways that the hydraulic fracturingprocess could be streamlined to support the efforts of the society inthe quest for sustainability.
However,the article contrasts with the rest because it concerns itself withthe discussions of the fracturing process on the human health. As hasbeen seen, other articles tend to be different because they focusedon the general implications of the process on the environment, whileothers concentrated on the soil or even the aquatic ecology.Moreover, this document presents itself as an explorative kind. Itcompiles different reports from the studies across the worldinvestigating the significance of fracturing on the environment. Onthe overall, there, it can be argued that this article presents ageneralized approach to the subject, synthesizing views in othersecondary resources that are critical in informing the policymakers.The article highlights the need for various agencies to implementavailable government legislations that regulate mining activities asthe government seeks to enact other laws to close existing loopholes.In addition, the paper fails to acknowledge other related surfacepollutant processes such as air pollution, landscape issues, noise,and surface retention of fracturing compounds. The extraction isusually accompanied by lot noise, leave alone requiring expensiveinfrastructure investment. While noise is a form of pollution, thesetting of infrastructure entails drilling, transportation ofsupplies and equipment and other processes that are set to controlthe effects of pollution.
Arthur,Daniel., Bohm, Brian., Coughlin, Bobbi, and Layne, Mark. Evaluatingthe Environmental Implications of Hydraulic Fracturing in Shale GasReservoirs.ALLConsulting, 2012.Print
Arthur,Bohm, Coughlin, and Layne explore the environmental consequences ofhydraulic fracturing. The authors focus their discussions ondifferent processes of hydraulic fracturing. One of the areas ofconcern is the potential human exposures to naturally occurringradioactive materials such as iridium, which are present as depositsin fracturing fluids. Besides, the authors note that the exploitationof these resources using hydraulic fracturing processes poses adverserisks to other organisms, atmospheric air, and soil. In particular,according to these authors, the fracturing fluids and additives usedin fracturing equipment contain compounds such as methane, crude oilproducts, and ozone gases, which affect the environment in differentways. For instance, the ozone gases contribute to the weakening ozonelayer, increasing the chances for harmful terrestrial rays to reachthe earth. The crude oil products could find their way into the watermasses, threatening the aquatic life. Some other gases find their wayto the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Concerning thisview, the authors argue that there could be no boundary as to waysthat hydraulic fracturing affects the environment. The methaneemissions, diesel fumes, and ozone precursors (odors) and otherpollutants from hydraulic fracturing machines and other equipment(pumps, compressors, and valves) harm the environment and human.
Thedocument is relevant because it outlines some of the harmfulcompounds that are produced by hydraulic fracturing machines such asvalves, pumps, and compressors during the exploration of natural gasand which affect the environment. The focus of this article isprimarily on the flawed nature of the processes. This article isbeneficial because it singles out the processes that can be correctedto ensure to reduce pollutant nature of the hydraulic fracturing. Thediscussion presents a viewpoint that is practical and relevant tohelp the policymakers understand the nature and the cause of theproblem and developed informed measures.
Whilethis document does not broadly discuss the process of drilling, itexpands on gives examples of various compounds that are released intothe environment by the fracturing process. The article discussesdifferent radioactive compounds related to the process of natural gasdrilling. The article points to specific equipment such as valves,pumps, and compressors that allow harmful compounds such as dieselfumes, methane emissions, and ozone gases to leak into theenvironment. In other words, it highlights some of the areas ofweaknesses that might be potential addressed to reduce the levels ofpollution. There has been rising concern about the Kyoto protocolimplementation, which called for nations to cut down industrialemissions. Such cutting down of emissions would see a transition togreen economy, an issue that was the center stage for which the Kyotoprotocol was lobbied. Arguably, a transition to green economy wouldensure sustainable development. As such, there may be a dire need fornations to evaluate the implications of pollution caused by hydraulicfracturing activities on the process and strive to address the areasof weaknesses. Certainly, the discussions in the document and valid,because recognize the criticality of environmental protection andoffer an objective angle for visualizing the hydraulic fracturingprocess.
Healy,Dana. HydraulicFracturing or ‘Fracturing’: A Short Summary of Current Knowledgeand Potential Environmental Impacts.Science,Technology, Research and Innovation for the Environment (STRIVE)Programme, 2013.Print
Healyexplores the current state of knowledge regarding the hydraulicfracturing. According to the author, the method used to improve orstimulate the flow of fluids in underground rocks during the drillingprocess in the exploration of natural gas. A liquid mixture of water,proppants, and other fracturing fluids are injected into rocks usingpumps to cause the rocks to fracture, allowing the mixture of naturalgas, water, fracturing fluids and proppants to flow to the wellheadafter subjecting the pressure into the system. The author states thatexcessive injection of fracturing fluids, acids and water isassociated with several potential risks such as earthquakes,contamination of water sources and emission of harmful volatilecompounds such as methane and carbon dioxide in the air (airpollution). The author goes further to discuss the possibility ofthese risks to be addressed. The article reports that some risks areinherent to the hydraulic fracturing process, although several can bemanaged or even be limited to informed safety and risk managementprocedures such as the site evaluation, human resource training onsecurity and imposing informed legislations. Despite the feasibilityof these interventions, the practice is lagging and could be thereason to worry that hydraulic fracturing is an adverse pollutantprocess.
Thedocument is relevant because it explores the issue of how the natureand process of hydraulic fracturing can pollute the environment,addressing the effects of substances such as mixtures of water,proppants and fracturing fluids, acids and the pressure levelsapplied during the exploration of natural gas. The article goesfurther to point out the adverse effects of excessive use ofhydraulic fracturing fluid. Some of the consequences are potentialearthquakes, water pollution through the leakage of hydraulicfracturing fluid into clean water sources, air pollution linked tothe emission of volatile compounds of CO2 and methane, and leakage ofharmful drilling wastes.
Thisdocument is exceptional because it examines the potentialimplications of the entire process hydraulic fracturing on theenvironment. The article outlines the estimate amounts of fluids andlevels of pressure applied to enable the gas to come to the surface.In addition, the document acknowledges various implications of theexcessive application of the hydraulic fracturing fluid in thesubsurface. Therefore, it presents some simple information needed toinform environmental protection measures. When tackling the questionof how less pollutant hydraulic fracturing is, it will not be enoughto consider the relative amounts of green house emissions produced bythe process during exploration but also other concerns. It isconventional that when the natural gas is burnt, it yields less greenhouse gas emissions compared to other fuels whose process ofextraction poses less environmental concerns such as coal. In thisregard, the evaluation of how the hydraulic fracturing processaffects the environment should be considered multispectral andapproached using a one-system approach. This article fits into therealm of environmental protection by exploring different issues ofconcern. In this regard, the policymakers can help conserve theenvironment by following some of the discussions presented in thearticle.
Nador,Annamaria. Theimpacts of hydraulic fracturing on the environment. MFGI,2015.Print
Nadorexplores ways that hydraulic fracturing can adversely affect theenvironment. According to the document, the exploration of naturalgas using hydraulic fracturing technique is associated with severalrisks, including emission of air pollutant gases such as methane,production of debris that results in sedimentation of the watermasses and the release of cumbersome and radioactive metals thatcould potential cause cancer among the humans. However, according tothe report, many of these risks are can be prevented. In relating toa series of explorations of minerals using the technique in Hungary,the author highlights that, so far, there have been no majoraccidents of adverse environmental harm. In relation to the events ofhydraulic fracturing happening in other parts of the world, thearticle acknowledges that some of the environmental risks that mightoccur are induced earthquakes and underground water contamination. Tosome degree, the document recognizes certain forms of pollution ofgroundwater contamination in the case of the Hungary settings, albeitthe limited percentage of the contaminants to cause any significantenvironmental contamination. The geological, hydro-geological andgeophysical data on exploration in two areas in Hungary points torisks such as groundwater pollution as a result of the accumulationof fracturing fluid, although the level is insignificant (Nador4).
Thearticle is relevant because it singles out the extent of theenvironmental challenges of using hydraulic fracturing. Inparticular, the article establishes the dangers of using geothermalenergy and conventional methods in the exploitation of hydrocarbonsbasing on the case of Hungary. The paper acknowledges thattraditional techniques and the use of geothermal energy in theoperation of natural gas are linked to subsurface contamination andinduced earthquakes. However, the paper indicates that some of therisks associated with hydraulic exploration such as air and surfacewater pollution are minimal compared to other forms of natural gasexploitation.
Thisarticle is exceptional because it is based on data derived from acase study of explorations in Hungary. Moreover, the paper tends toabsolve the technique from concerns that it pollutes the environmentand this is seen when it alludes to the view that the risksassociated with the use of fracturing fluid may not be as pronouncedas thought. The article also highlights some of the undergroundenvironmental implications (underground formations) of hydraulicfracturing and geothermal techniques. The paper further reveals that,while the notion of environmental conservation (measures preventionof subsurface pollution) criticality is welcome, the process ofachieving desirable environment preservation and protection isconstrained by the growing reliance on environmentally unfriendlyproducts and pollutant activities such as coal and hydraulicfracturing, respectively, in a majority of countries across theglobe. Besides, the article discusses the lack of proper legislationto control the use of harmful fracturing chemicals and lack ofrelevant information regarding the potential risks of differentfracturing chemicals used by companies in the exploitation of naturalgas from its natural shale rock. The authors also acknowledge thatgovernment bodies have been reluctant to implement measurespertaining environmental protection or conservation and management ofnatural resources despite being perceived to be meaningful andbeneficial to the people.
Funke,Odelia. GoverningEnvironmental Impacts from Hydraulic Fracturing: Complex Issues in aComplex Democratic Framework. FederalMinistry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety,2013.Print
Thearticle by Odelia explores the discussion of the impact of hydraulicfracturing on the environment and the significance of the availablelegal framework aimed at protecting the environment. The authordiscusses that the exploration of hydrocarbons using the process ofhydraulic fracturing results in the emission of harmful compounds inthe air, noise pollution, and water contamination. The author alsoobserves that the air and water emissions from hydraulic fracturingcarry more risks to living things, especially the human beings. Theauthor discusses that the emission of ozone gases has significantlycontributed to the increase in atmospheric temperatures, a phenomenoncommonly referred to as global warming. While research to establishthe adverse effects of emissions is being undertaken to determine theseverity of these emissions to human populations, the author callsupon the relevant authorities to strive and evaluate all companiesinvolved in the exploitation of minerals using the technique,identify the areas of weaknesses and update the legal framework.Apparently, the fracturing fluids (proppants and other chemicalsubstances) used are handled as trade secrets by the majority offirms, a scenario that has constrained the understanding of realimplications of the process on the environment. Such chemicals mightbe adversely poisonous than thought. There is also a call for thecompanies to enhance transparency and accountability of the chemicalsthey use and their potential environmental effect.
Thearticle is relevant to the present subject because it acknowledgesthe harmful effects of fracturing fluids and the processes, whichinclude water, noise and air pollution in the United States. Thereport also provides necessary recommendations to inform practice.Mainly, the article outlines that hazardous fracturing chemicals inthe soil or rock can easily find their way to surface water sourcessuch as dams, rivers, and springs—posing deadly risks on human lifeand other living creatures. Besides, the report addresses the problemof noise emanating from hydraulic machines to the people living nearthe sites where exploitation of natural gas is conducted.
Likethe other articles, this report discusses some of the commonenvironmental effects (water contamination, air emissions, and noise)of hydraulic fracturing. However, it sets itself from the rest whenit expresses concerns regarding the lack of knowledge on thecomposition of the fracturing chemicals employed by some of thecompanies. In essence, the article serves as a reminder of the areasthe policymakers might want to direct attention in their quest toprotect the environment. The massive emissions from hydraulicfracturing industries of pollutant, greenhouse gases such as carbon,sulfur, and nitrogen, and oxides and noise have been established tohave significant impacts on the health and wellbeing of people inHungary. Ideally, the article indicates that these gases find theirway into the atmosphere and build up in its upper layers.Consequently, their accumulation prevents heat from leaving theearth, resulting in the rise of global temperatures (global warming).The increase in the global temperatures has profound consequences onthe human life. Noise has discouraged human settlements in areaswhere hydraulic fracturing operations are conducted. In endeavoringin these discussions, this article is certainly aimed at being partof the process of informing the policymakers and the companiesinvolved to nurture consciousness regarding environmentalconservation.
Meiners,Georg, Denneborg, Michael and Müller, Frank.EnvironmentalImpacts of Hydraulic Fracturing Related to Exploration andExploitation of Unconventional Natural Gas Deposits.Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and NuclearSafety, 2015.Print
Meiners,Denneborg, and Müller examine the potential environmental impacts ofhydraulic fracturing focusing on the context of natural gasexploration. They discuss that the use of hydraulic fracturingtechniques can have adverse effects on water resources, especially inareas with water shortage problems. The authors associated theseenvironmental challenges with different operation factors. One ofthese factors is improperly maintained and built waste pits, whichhave significantly contributed to surface and groundwatercontamination. The surface water is also polluted through leaking offracturing chemicals during drilling and fracturing, issues thatcould be otherwise prevented by exercising minimum care for theenvironment. Some of the emissions from the processes and chemicalsdo not only pose as potential risks to contamination of water, butalso the atmosphere, with references given to harmful gases such asmethane and carbon dioxide. Moreover, hydraulic fracturing operationscan trigger induced seismicity (micro-seismic earthquakes) of energylevels up to5.6M and magnitude ranging between M-1 and M-3 (Meiners,Denneborg and Müller 2015).The report discusses several intervention measures needed toameliorate the problem, but which have been taken for granted by themainstream hydraulic fracturing companies. Ideally, the companies areoverlooking the significance of the call to protect the environment.
Thearticle is relevant because it discusses some of the harmful effectsof hydraulic fracturing operations, which include air and waterpollution. It also extends its discussion to cover the danger posedby increased damping of pollutant, exacerbated by the lack of properlegislation to regulate fracturing activities. In addition, thearticle discusses the contribution of prolonged damping of chemicalwastes from hydraulic fracturing processes to the stability of theground. Multiple cases of micro seismic events in the United Stateshave been attributed to rampant damping of fracturing chemicals anddisturbance of underground rocks.
Ascan be seen, this source explores the subject by focusing on the caseof the United States. It presents interesting revelations that arenot vividly addressed in other sections such as the relationshipbetween earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing. Besides, it confrontsthe lack of sound legal measures to control activities that involvethe use of fracturing fluids. It also highlights the dangers offracturing chemicals’ spillages due to poor maintenance andimproper construction of waste pits to the environment, touching onthe contamination of water sources and air pollution. The reportaddresses some of the environmental risks discussed in otherarticles. Some of the environmental hazards concerning the use offracturing process and hydraulic techniques include surface waterpollution, air pollution, and noise pollution. In particular, thereport suggests that excessive and prolonged use fracturing chemicalscan cause accumulation of those chemicals in large amounts,consequently increasing their levels (quantities) subsurface water,making it unsafe for living creatures. This report also sets thestage regarding the measures that the policymakers could adopt toresolve the scenario. It places the exploration companies into thelimelight of being the pollutant businesses and whose practices mustbe checked to assure desirable outcomes.
Herridge,Aaron, Kerwin, Teresa, Lestarjette, Tricia, Schmidt, Mat andWohlgemuth, Lana. The Consequences of Hydraulic Fracturing. EnvironHealth Perspect 110 (2015)25-42.Print
Accordingto Herridge, Kerwin, Lestarjette, Schmidt, and Wohlgemuth, hydraulicfracturing is one of the efficient techniques of exploitinghydrocarbon gas (natural gas) from natural shale rocks andformations. They discuss that the process has played a crucial rolein driving the America’s dependence on natural gas. The authorsargued that while the process is theorized to be harmful, this doesnot apply to all cases, especially when due care is taken to protectthe environment. According to the authors, if the necessary care istaken, hydraulic fracturing processes will produce little emissionsof harmful gases and wastes such as carbon dioxide and methane, andwater pollutant chemical leakages. The authors acknowledge that ifdue care is not taken, air pollution and contamination of surfacewater sources, which have adverse impacts on the environment and thehumans, could occur. Moreover, the authors suggest that limitedlegislations that have been put in place to regulate hydraulicfracturing operations in the United States are to blame for therampant environment impacts witnessed. They also argue that somecompanies have been involved in the exploitation of natural gaswithout conducting research and submitting reports for approval(Herridge, Kerwin, Lestarjette, Schmidt, and Wohlgemuth 4).
Thediscussion lends itself as relevant to the present subject because itdiscusses the potential pollutant nature of the process of hydraulicfracturing and its efficiency compared to other natural gasextraction methods. The discussions laud the hydraulic fracturing asbeneficial in increasing the United States’ dependency on naturalgas while reducing the dependency on coal. The article alsoacknowledges the positive contribution of hydraulic fracturingtechnique to the lower national ozone gases emissions and thedecrease in resultant human and environmental challenges in theUnited States, although it suggests certain forms of legislations areneeded to control the use of hazardous fracturing chemicals.
Therefore,the article by Herridge, Kerwin, Lestarjette, Schmidt and Wohlgemuthpresents itself as an exception on the basis of the information itoffers. The discussion sets out some of the benefits resulting fromhydraulic fracturing techniques, especially the few emissions ofcarbon dioxide and methane. Nevertheless, this article concurs withother discussions regarding the limited legal measures forcontrolling the use of fracturing chemicals, which have contributedto mass waste dumping and emission of harmful gases in the air. Inaddition, the article attributes the occurrence of micro earthquakes(micro seismic events) in different states in the United States.Therefore, this discussion may not appear to refute the fact thathydraulic fracturing is accompanied by far-reaching consequences onthe environment, although it also extends the discussions on thepossibilities to reduce the environmental harm by adopting thenecessary legal framework and responsive practices. It is suggestedthat relevant government agencies should conduct thorough research onthe effects of different fracturing chemicals on human and theenvironment, particularly, air and water reservoirs and set thestandards by which all firms should conform. In this regard, thisarticle is significant because it does not only provide discussionson the way the process is a pollutant, but addresses the implicationsfor the policymakers.
Insummary, the annotated bibliography on the impact of hydraulicfracturing process on the environment presents diverse perspectives.These aspects can be categorized into two thematic perspectives:firstly, the process has far-reaching consequences on theenvironment secondly, the process has certain consequences on theenvironment, although these adverse effects may not subvert thebenefits. Nevertheless, it is particularly noteworthy that manyarticles tend to favor ‘radicalist’ perspective that hydraulicfracturing has far-reaching consequences on the environment, the kindthat is so destructive that call on the society to reconsider themethod. Indeed, several authors have done better in discussingdifferent ways this can occur. One of these ways is the process ofteninvolves the production of surface water, which flows into watermasses, carrying sediments with them. Consequently, these sedimentsthreaten the aquatic ecological systems (e.g. McDermott-Levy, Kaktinsand Sattler 1 Burton, Basu, Ellis, Kapo, Entrekin and Nadelhofferyy,2). Another way hydraulic fracturing pollutes the environment isthrough the substances that are used or produced on course of theextraction process. Oneof these substances is a salt such as calcium carbonate, which maynot harm human beings, but other small organisms in the soil. Theextraction may also produce radioactive materials such as radium andother heavy metals, which are carcinogenic if inhaled or ingested.Other harmful substances are organic compounds such as benzene andnaphthalene,which are hazardous pollutants of the air (e.g. Burton, Basu, Ellis,Kapo, Entrekin and Nadelhofferyy, 2014 Arthur, Bohm, Coughlin andLayne, 2012).The discussions linking hydraulic fracturing withearthquakes and tremors have also been noted (e.g. McDermott-Levy,Kaktins and Sattler 2 Burton, Basu, Ellis, Kapo, Entrekin andNadelhofferyy, 3). Theextraction using hydraulic fracturing endangers the existence ofaquifers consisting of fresh water that is used for various humanpurposes such as drinking and irrigation. Usually, the extraction ofnatural gas is accompanied with ejection of large water volumes on toland surface. When the use of natural gas is embraced, its extractionwill result to depletion of water aquifers besides polluting them.Worse still, the contaminated large amounts of water from the wellshappen to consist of dissolved chemicals, which affect the lands’soil fertility due to changes in pH of the soil. These effects havepotential to alter the functioning of the surrounding ecosystems.
However,one particular article (Jackson,Vengosh, Carey, Davies, Sarrah, Sullivan and Gabrielle 2) providesperhaps one of the most unique and objective angles of ascertainingthe environmental implications of the process, which only happens tofavor the second thematic perspective. On the overall, however,fracturing process presents itself as a sustainable approach toexploring natural gas to use for production of electricity, therebyreducing sulfur, mercury, nitrogen and other pollutant gasesexperienced in the generation of electricity using coal. The anglethat the discussion introduces creates the allowance to question whatforms of criteria should be utilized in environmental impactanalysis. Would the practice be justified to evaluate the methodbased on the immediate harm it poses to the environment or based onthe less pollutant nature of the products?
Arthur,J. Daniel., Bohm, Brian., Coughlin, Bobbi, and Layne, Mark..Evaluatingthe Environmental Implications of Hydraulic Fracturing in Shale GasReservoirs.ALLConsulting, 2012.Print
Healy,Dana. HydraulicFracturing or ‘Fracturing’: A Short Summary of Current Knowledgeand Potential Environmental Impacts. Science,Technology, Research and Innovation for the Environment (STRIVE)Programme, 2013.Print
Nador,Annamaria.Theimpacts of hydraulic fracturing on the environment. MFGI,2015.Print
Funke,Odelia. GoverningEnvironmental Impacts from Hydraulic Fracturing: Complex Issues in aComplex Democratic Framework. FederalMinstry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety,2013.Print
Meiners,Georg, Denneborg, Michael and Müller,Frank.EnvironmentalImpacts of Hydraulic Fracturing Related to Exploration andExploitation of Unconventional Natural Gas Deposits.Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and NuclearSafety , 2015.Print
Herridge,Aaron. Kerwin, Teresa., Lestarjette, Tricia. Schmidt, Mat. andWohlgemuth, Lana. The Consequences of Hydraulic Fracturing. EnvironHealth Perspect110 (2015)25-42.
Burton,Allen. Basu, Niladri.. Ellis, Brian.. Kapo, Katherine., Entrekin,Sally. and Nadelhofferyy, Knute. Hydraulic “Fracturing”: AreSurface Water Impacts An Ecological Concern? ToxicolChem33 (2014):1679–1689. Print
ParliamentaryCommission for the Environment. Evaluatingthe environmental impacts of fracturing in New Zealand:Aninterim report.ParliamentaryCommission for the Environment, 2014. Print
Jackson,Robert. Vengosh, Avner. Carey, William., Davies, Richard. Sarrah,Thomas. Sullivan, Francies and Gabrielle P´etronThe EnvironmentalCosts and Benefits of Fracturing. Annu.Rev. Environ. Resour.39:7 (2014):1–7.36. Print
McDermott-Levy,R. Kaktins, Nina and Sattler, Barbara. Fracturing,the Environment, and Health Newenergy practices may threaten public health. AJN113(2015): 34-38.Print
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