Currently, the world faces a disturbing realty: the fossil fuels we use as sources of energy, once bountiful, have diminished greatly. With the rise of industrialism in the 19th Century, gas and oil became highly sought-after commodities; nations have gone to war over the right to drill, with the Middle East becoming the most contested territory due to its rich oil reserves.
The problem with fossil fuels, which are the source of materials that run everything from gas stoves to coal ovens to SUVs, is that it took millions of years of compression under the ground to result in the substances we find useful today. When these fossil fuels run out, alternative forms of energy will be a necessity.
In the United States, vast reserves of natural gas have been discovered all over the nation. Many saw this as a saving grace for the energy industry, but others, notably environmental scientists, saw this as a dangerous path to pursue. The process of Hydraulic Fracturing (known colloquially as “Fracking”) is much cheaper than other forms of drilling, and is the primary means of gas and oil extraction in the United States. However, this process has dire environmental consequences when done improperly, and has, in places like the Delaware River Valley, resulted in spillage, fish death, and damage to plant and animal ecosystems. Activists have raised their voices against Fracking, but many in the opposition praise it as an economic savior. A third camp argues for the regulation of Fracking, aiming to strike a balance between environmental friendliness and economic success.
Table of Contents
- The Science: “Hydraulic Fracturing 101” (EarthWorks)
- The Controversy: Andrew Meyer, “”Get the Frack Out of Town:” Preemption Challenges to Local Fracking Bans in New York” (Columbia Journal of Environmental Law)
- “Fossil Energy: How Fossil Fuels were Formed” (U.S. Department of Energy)
Arguments for the Regulation of Fracking
- Chad Clarke, “Fracking Politics: A Case Study of Policy in New York and Pennsylvania from 2008-2011”
- Jacquelyn Pless, “Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing: States Take Action” (National Conference of State Legislatures)
- Jody Freeman, “The Wise Way to Regulate Gas Drilling” (New York Times)
- “Protecting New Yorkers’ Health and the Envrionment by Regulating Drilling in the Marcellus Shale” (Natural Resources Defense Council)
Opposition to Fracking
- “Why Ban Fracking?” (Food and Water Watch)
- Letter to New York State Senator Tony Avella by Paul A. Rubin and Katherine J. Beinkafner, “Hydrogeologic Justification for Banning Hydraulic Fracturing throughout New York State and the Delaware River Basin” (Damascus Citizens for Sustainability)
Support of Fracking
- Joe Crivelli, “The Marcellus Shale Gives Me Hope” (Delaware Valley Marcellus Association)