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Economic Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing

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Hydraulic fracturing is a process commonly known as “Fracking,” implemented by the oil and gas industry today. Fracking is the extraction of oil and natural gas trapped inside shale deposits stored thousands of feet underground. The process begins when a borehole is drilled roughly 1.5 miles beneath the surface of U.S. soil, passing through several thousand feet of different rock layers. Steel cement casings are placed to prevent leaks in the water supply Controlled explosives are used to puncture through the concrete and steel so high pressured liquid pour into shale formation and create fractures allowing for the flow of natural gas to be pumped to the surface and processed. Hydraulic Fracturing today is now done in parts of Europe and Africa, Russia, and Canada. However precautionary measures must be in place surrounding the borehole and drilling through the aquifer, the aquifer is water trapped under soil that is pumped through residential wells. A protective steel casing with cement casing is entered though out the drilling process to protect the aquifer.

One of the consequences in fracking, is the possibility of contaminating the water supply. “Water pollution, for example, can cause illness and destroy the livelihood of fishermen and others who rely on a healthy ecosystem to earn a living.” (President’s Economic Report for 2012, p. 231) Methane gas for example can contaminate the aquifer if it seeps past fractures of the cement steel casing. Methane is highly flammable and is a great danger to resident homes with contaminated water. Oil for another example that can seeps through cracks, in pour a glass of contaminated water, oil can be seen on the bottom of the glass naturally separated from the water. “France, for example, has banned Hydraulic Fracturing altogether and other countries are debating the idea.” (Konrad, 2012) This is risk alone is reason enough to toss out fracking for an energy source. Economic Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing

Fracking not only provided clean fossil fuels for the United States for more than 60 years, but has provided more jobs and a growing economy. It can also support America’s energy from upwards of 20 to 40 years and help reduces American’s need to rely on foreign fuel imports. The process is continually improving, thanks to technology, engineering, State and Federal regulations, to reduce the environmental impact and water pollution. The Independent Petroleum Association of American produced an article in April 2008 stating, “Technology such as hydraulic fracturing has made it possible for many Economic Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing communities to see economic gains due to production of oil and gas. For example, the Barnett shale play in the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, area has brought literally thousands of jobs into the area.” (IPAA, 2008)

Many property owners will witness economic growth and receive payments. Increase tax revenues to the government and job growth for the demand of the following professions, manufacturing and environmental permitting, engineering and surveying, construction, waste management, and more. The job growth is not only local, but continues on a state and federal level that provides supervision, studies, and regulations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC). More and more consumers draw their power from fracking thanks to lower prices on the fossil fuel, “the Yale Graduates Energy Study Group calculated that in 2010 alone, the consumer surplus (the consumer savings or gain from reductions in price) from shale gas production was worth over $100 billion.” (Loris, 2012) It is proven that Hydraulic fracturing is a significant part of U.S.’s energy portfolio and thus a critical part in economic growth.


INNOVATION, CLEAN ENERGY, AND PUBLIC INVESTMENT. (n.d.). www.whitehouse.gov. Retrieved November 7, 2012, from www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ERP_2012_ch_8.pdf

http://www.energyindepth.org. (2008, April). Retrieved November 8, 2012, from http://www.energyindepth.org/PDF/Hydraulic-Fracturing-3-E’s.pdf

Konrad (2012, June 28). Regulation Of Hydraulic Fracturing | RFID Solution
Group. Oil and Gas RFID Solution Group Consortium – RFID Solution Group. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from http://rfidsolutiongroup.org/tag/regulation-of-hydraulic-fracturing/

Loris, N. (2012, August 28). Hydraulic Fracturing or Fracking: Impact on Energy, Jobs and Economic Growth. Conservative Policy Research and Analysis. Retrieved November 10, 2012, from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/08/hydraulic-fracturing-critical-for-energy-production-jobs-and-economic-growth

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