Fracking is drilling the ground to a certain point and then directing a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and chemicals to the ground to release the gas inside it. The term comes from fracturing the rock with the pressurized water. With this method, the USA and other countries that are in the trial process of fracking, gain valuable natural gas. Natural gas is the cleanest gas that is crucial for countries to achieve their goals of low greenhouse gas emissions.
Fracking requires high amounts of water to be transported to the drilling site. It, of course, carries significant environmental risk, and companies should work towards achieving the same result with lesser amounts of water or a different method. Other potential dangers about fracking are earth tremors, and in case of bad practice, carcinogenic chemicals may escape during the exercise. These are, of course, substantial environmental risks and should be eliminated worldwide to preserve our earth.
On the other side of the spectrum, according to an article by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the economic gain from fracking is 41 billion USD in Pennsylvania alone. For comparison, that is 1/20th of Turkey’s GDP and comes from one sector in a state with 12 million population. It has created, directly and indirectly, 300 thousand jobs in the state. It also helps with the USA’s policymaking because since fracking began, they stopped being dependent on countries like Saudi Arabia or Russia.
What is infuriating about fracking is the controversy behind it, but what is more lovable about Americans than their failure to find a middle ground in anything and unnecessary radicalness about every controversial subject. There are many solutions to the environmental effects of fracking. Because fracking creates an economic boom, they could be taxed at a higher level or not be subject to tax cuts. With this money, USA could for once care about other countries and give this money to UNEP (UN Environment Programme) for them to help the investors in other countries that are contaminating drinking waters only because they are undeveloped. By this way, at worst, they could find the equilibrium between the water they use for fracking and water they are saving for world usage. UNEP could also invest in highly needed renewable energy opportunities in other countries.
If it is assumed that US doesn’t want to donate their money to UNEP for no reason(!), the taxes could work towards a fully renewable energy program for the US to eliminate the fracking industry by a specific date. The US could also require the companies to increase their budget on their Research and Development Department to decrease the amount of water needed or decrease the possibilities of earth tremor and release of carcinogenic chemicals.
Elizabeth Warren, one of the Democratic Party’s possible front runners, promises to eliminate fracking if she is chosen for office. With the economic gains of fracking, there is no possibility of a politician getting a lead in the swing states if they promise to ban fracking as a whole, since 1/12 of the GDP comes from fracking in one of those states, Pennsylvania. This is why finding the middle ground is essential for fracking issues because if they don’t see the middle ground, fracking is going to win and continue at full force, wasting precious water.