Frackin’ hell, what are we doing?

Fracking water - Public Herald

I am not by any means a Greenie though I do try not to despoil our planet too much. I do have a three acre garden which consumes my non-working hours. Which is just background to my concerns about fracking. In my home state of Queensland, Australia, Coal Seam Gas and fracking, to a lesser extent, have become the new gods of capitalism. It has created a boom atmosphere similar the gold rush days. However, my every instinct tells me that what is happening – and will continue to happen – is likely to create one of the worst environmental nightmares yet seen.

Australia is the driest continent which is why our sparse 23 million people cluster around the very rim, next to the oceans. Thus, what water we do have, or can capture inland, has immense value, both environmentally and commercially. The Great Artesian Basin lies underneath much of Queensland which is a huge state.

I just cannot see how fracking and CSG extraction (which raises vast quantities of salt water to the surface where no-one has yet figured out how to safely get rid if it) can continue without irreparable damage to underground aquifers. I don’t know the science but then none of us knew the science of nuclear power, either, and we have seen some disastrous consequences of that industry, too. I cannot say for sure that we should not utilise this resource but an inner voice screams that it carries risks that are simply not tenable. Make up your own mind but we have a responsibility to at least think about the issue . . .

I am indebted to Aaron French (frenchwellness.wordpress.com) for his original post below and the accompanying image.

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What is fracking (hydraulic fracturing)?

Hydraulic fracturing and potential oil pipelines threaten water quality with susceptible contamination.  Hydraulic fracturing collects natural gas from shale basins by injecting millions of gallons of highly contaminated fracturing fluid into ground penetrating pipes at high pressure.  Pipes are bored to a depth where the input of pressurized fluid forces decompression of the overlying landmass thereby creating fractures that allow accessibility to previously constrained oil and gas.  Hydraulic fracturing not only requires extensive amounts of freshwater, but also contaminates it in the process.  Additionally, the byproducts of hydraulic fracturing can enter neighboring freshwater resources if cracks from the fracturing intersect with geologically inherent fractures.  Despite the common conscious awareness of hydraulic fracturing’s extensive environmental implications, the process is injudiciously protected from numerous environmental health regulations by political ambiguities.