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Anthony Kestas

Ms. Hughes
English 1101
4, November 2014
What the Frack is the problem
In current society there are many terms we throw around on a daily basis, some may call
them slang, jargon, or hot topics. One of the largest that is continually brought up on an
economic and environmental spectrum is the term fracking. Fracking as stated by Mr. Bryan
Walsh, The technique, which involves the use of explosives, chemicals and millions of gallons
of water to create tiny fractures in shale thousands of feet underground, has unlocked new
supplies of natural gas long considered too difficult and expensive to tap. The sand, water
chemical solution is pumped into the earth under extreme pressure down to the small fractures
that were made in order to re-open and expand. The sand that is actually a specific size and
granule type which is capable of sliding into these crevasses and propping them open; is literally
called proppant sand.
The water chemical solutions, Which specially blended liquid mixtures are pumped into
oil and gas wells under high pressure causing underground rock formations to crack and open
up. According to John Craven, as he also brings attention to, Oil and gas companies have
traditionally protected the composition of these proprietary liquids through state-level trade
secret laws. The propping sands allow this solution to flow into the fissures where many crude
oil and natural gas bubbles are locked. All of this is done under extreme pressures from the earth
and the large pumping trucks on the top side of the well. The well is then blocked off under
pressure for a period of time allowing the chemicals to stew and break down the rock, gas and
oil. After the stewing period has expired the blocking is removed and the well is ready to be
pumped out.

Anthony Kestas
Ms. Hughes
English 1101
4, November 2014
This process of fracturing has actually been around since the early 1940, which many
find as news to them that fracking has been going on so long. So in 2014 why is the term
hydraulic fracturing such a hot button word? A major player in this eye brow raising issue is
that in the early 2000s advent of the horizontal drilling technologies became available. This is
the process of drilling down to a set depth and then turning the drill bit ninety degrees and the
being able to continue on for a couple of miles or kilo meters. Horizontal drilling allows one well
to tap considerably more shale rock formations. Its considerable cheaper and easily to keep the
drilling platform in one location and just drill to where ever you may need to frack, as opposed to
moving the rigs and then having to re-drill to the set depth. Many drilling companies are then
capable of drilling wells under local infrastructure without the burden of having to purchase new
properties because of zoning and health reasons.
U.S. citizens have many amazing rights and freedoms; one right that is explicitly unique
to our country is Mineral rights. In other countries if the government does surveys and discovers
there is a particular mineral or type of well on land that your currently own, they have the means
and the rights to come in, kick a person off their land and begin extracting the new found
interest. Mineral rights allow United States land owners to not only purchase and own the dirt at
the top levels of the properties, but everything below the crust of the earth that is in the property
line also belongs to the land owners. If any one person or companies want to drill into or through
said properties, they must have the land owners permission to-do so. Generally the best means
of persuasion come in a check with many zeros at the end of said persuasive number. Contracts
can then be written up and the leasing agreement is made. Another pro to horizontal drilling is

Anthony Kestas
Ms. Hughes
English 1101
4, November 2014
that generally drilling and well companies buy a lot of neighboring land, thus allowing them to
have one centralized well cap and branch out into every direction and drill directly under a
neighborhood or your home.
So with all of this new energy locked under U.S. soil, why are there not a pumping
station being drilled and tapped at every possible geographic location? What are the major anti
fracking issues? As many people may know and understand Americans are a very oil dependent,
and a mass energy consuming nation. For much of the eighties, nineties, and into the new
millennium, U.S. citizens used and burned Middle Eastern or foreign oils and Russian natural
gas for different types of energy. It has put a large dent in many peoples wallets, with the cost of
gasoline going over four dollars. Having an almost immediate geographical and domestic power
source seems like a no brainer. Yet many are against hydraulic fracturing, for more reasons than
When drilling companies claim trade secret protection for their fracking formulas, they
deprive the public of information essential to evaluating potential health risks and determining
what steps are necessary to ensure their safety. Suggests Mr. Craven, these drilling companies
are pumping rock dissolving solutions into the earth, in order to soften and remove the oil and
natural gas locked inside the shale. The major risk to the earth as a whole is the simple fact that
drilling companies are being allowed to pumps millions of gallons of poison into the earth.
Chemicals used in fracking operations near the central Wyoming farming town of Pavilion were
found in a drinking-water aquifer near the area. It has also shown high levels of benzene
concentrations in the area's drinking water. Revealed by Daniel McGlynn.

Anthony Kestas
Ms. Hughes
English 1101
4, November 2014
Safety and liability is a major concern in the corporate world. Not only on the oil drilling
rigs for employees, but also for the local environments around the rigs and wells. Theres
currently many standards set in place to protect the earth as a whole setup by United States
Environmental Protection Agency. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act was set up in 1948.
Which was then reorganized, brought up to times in 1978 and renamed the Clean Water Act set
up the laws that are still currently in place today, in regards to the discharge of pollutants back to
the earth. As one my assume though the 1978 CWA is once again out of times and certainly
needs to be gone back through. The major issue with fracking and horizontal drilling is that not
off the water, sand, chemical solution is retrieved from the bottom of the well. While many wells
are taken down to depths thousands of feet below natural aquifers, there has been no proof that
the fracking solution isnt capable of seeping up to the aquifers. Considerable further testing
must be done to establish a minimum well depth to aquifer depth distance. The second largest
problem associated with hydraulic fracturing is what to-do with the millions of gallons of
contaminated water. This water cannot be released to the environment, and cannot be sent to
current sewage treatment plants as well. Fortunately for humans necessity is the mother of
invention, and new high tech ways of dealing with this toxic waste water, which has created its
own niche market.

Anthony Kestas
Ms. Hughes
English 1101
4, November 2014
Works Cited
Walsh, Bryan. "The Golden Age." Time 179.20 (2012): 47-48. Academic Search Complete. Web.
6 Nov. 2014.
"Preferred Sands Proppant In Demand." Rock Products 116.12 (2013): 10. Academic Search
Complete. Web. 6 Nov. 2014.
Craven, John. "Fracking Secrets: The Limitations Of Trade Secret Protection In Hydraulic
Fracturing." Vanderbilt Journal Of Entertainment & Technology Law 16.2 (2014): 395424. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Nov. 2014.
McGlynn, Daniel. "New EPA Study Links Fracking, Water Pollution." CQ Researcher 21.44
(2011): 1062-1063. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Nov. 2014.