Fracking. Just saying the word brings a smile to my face. Thinking about what it actually means immediately wipes the smile away. Fracking (or ‘Hydraulic Fracturing’ as it’s known to people who don’t like funny sounding words) is a process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.
The process itself is widely known for drastically reducing the price of gas in the US as well as guaranteeing the US and Canada with gas for the next 100 years. The process also allows for hard to reach gas and oil to be easily accessed with the new pathways that are made by the drilling. Why the hell would anyone not want this? Oh.
The first sign that all things are not quite right with the plan is that the PM has said that the whole country should get behind the idea. I don’t know what it is but whenever Cameron tells me to support something it immediately makes me want to crush it. The other big problem is the environmental cost (though annoying David Cameron is clearly the most important thing here).
There are huge concerns that the process can cause small earth tremors (though even the smallest ones are too big for me) and that there is a small chance that local water supplies can become polluted. Sorry, what? Advocates of fracking say, quite correctly, that supplies could only become polluted as a result of bad practice and negligent safety procedures. Which clears that up, because in the whole of history you will never be able to find a single example of an energy company polluting the environment because of poor safety procedures and cutting corners.
The ideal of cheap, easily accessible gas also prolongs our inevitable reliance on sustainable energy. Rather than continuously putting it off, why don’t we spend the money on building wind turbines and investing in electric cars? There are so many more positive ways that we can reduce the cost of utilities without drilling yet another hole into the ground.
So why does this bother me? I run a car, as such I’m more than happy to use petrol which itself is hardly environmentally friendly, as BP will tell you it can more than pollute a local environment. It’s because one of the first areas that could be ‘fracked’ is an area around where I live. As such it has made me really think about whether or not the procedure is a good thing. No matter how much it may reduce gas prices, I think I’ll stick with clean drinking water. The environment matters just a bit too much.
If you disagree then try counting your money whilst holding your breath.