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Natural gas is currently a big part of keeping many homes in the United States warm. However, to what extent are we willing to go to get natural gas? The latest advancement in mining for this resource is through a process called hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking. There are many questions about the potential effect of this technology on the environment. Unfortunately the government regulating the industry is having a hard time keeping up with the new technology.
What Is Hydrofracking?
According to the report from the New York Times, hydraulic fracturing uses a combination of sand, chemicals and water launched at high pressures to break apart rock formations that are holding the gas. Hydrofracking can produce more than a million gallons of wastewater. The materials found in the wastewater can be found naturally, but it is typically deep below the earth’s surface. As a result, the wastewater entering the water supply could be damaging to public health.
What Effect Could Hydraulic Fracturing Have On The Environment?
There are several potential issues that may exist as a result of hydraulic fracturing. The wastewater contains carcinogens, radium and highly corrosive salts. Combined with the chemicals being used in the hydrofracking process, the wastewater could threaten safety of the drinking water. Steven Cohen, Executive Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, said on the Huffington Post website that he believes money would be better invested researching for better green technology.
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