Fracking fluid is roughly 99.5 percent water and sand; the remaining 0.5 percent is a combination of three-to-12 chemicals at low concentrations. The New American cites Department of Energy evidence showing that: “the fluids are well known and rigorously regulated.” Furthermore, there is zero scientific evidence confirming that fracking contaminates groundwater. Syracuse University hydrogeologist Don Siegel told TIME Magazine: “I don’t think it’s scientifically plausible to suggest that could happen.”
Certainly, since commercial fracking technology is still new and revolutionary, there are kinks to work out. In particular, Pennsylvania’s unique geography and dense population present challenges for disposing of the fracking wastewater or “flowback” that travels up each Marcellus shale well along with the methane; even the shale-gas industry desires to perfect the disposal phase of the fracking process.
Yet even the flowback disposal “challenge” offers another lucrative opportunity for the U.S. economy because global capitalists are increasingly finding ways to safely and profitably extract minerals, oils, fats, chemicals and nutrients from wastewater. Basically, groundbreaking technology exists to render wastewater both profitable and sustainable.
Water technology venture capitalist David Henderson told the New York Times: “Wastewater is a very bad name because there’s a lot of value in wastewater. [In Singapore, for example] the word ‘wastewater’ doesn’t exist. They call it ‘new water.’ They call their wastewater plants ‘water reclamation plants.’ And I think that’s an interesting shift in mentality.”
Fracking technology was developed by private sector entrepreneurs; I think we should offer the private sector a chance to solve its challenges. Radical EPA regulations will merely repress America’s ability to benefit from fracking, kill job growth and hike energy prices.
An extra-Congressional agency like the EPA is far too capricious to be trusted with regulating fracking technology. In fact, the New York Times has reported that the EPA has repeatedly suppressed and altered its scientific findings on fracking for political reasons.
The EPA is now working on a study to determine the safety of fracking, however the results will not be complete until the end of 2012 and the EPA’s report based on the study will not be finished until 2014. If the EPA is seriously concerned that fracking causes water contamination, why is it taking over two years to release its report? This is a long time to wait and it delays potential controversy until after the 2012 election so that President Obama does not have to fight environmentalists to regain his office.
Let’s frack our way toward creating the jobs and affordable fuel that the economy needs to recover. If we move fast like Shaq—fracking for natural gas and oil—we can beat S&P’s downgrade buzzer.