Recently in Chemistry, we’ve been focusing on the benefits and detriments of Hydraulic Fracturing. We started out the unit by watching the documentary by Josh Fox called “Gasland,” and finished the unit today with a debate.

The documentary, surprisingly, was actually very interesting. It follows Fox as he tours the country investigating the pros and cons of fracking, after receiving a notice from an oil company requesting the use of his land for fracking.

Fox speaks to numerous people. Some have been forced to sign non-dislosure agreements by gas companies. Others tell stories of how their tap water is so contaminated by chemicals, that it is able to be lit on fire.

Fracking pollutes the air, and contaminates the water, with what is probably a couple hundred different chemicals. The effects of these chemicals? Harm to the immune system, the reproductive system, the vascular system, harm to development, suspected of promoting cancer, causing headaches, among others.

The people interviewed in the documentary explained how after the fracking began near them, or in some cases right next to them, headaches occurred frequently, as did nausea and faintness. Animals lost their fur, the tap water was expected to explode at any minute, the environment around the wells and where the by-product was disposed was completely ruined.

Oil companies, thanks to Bush and Chaney, are exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act. Companies insist that the water is safe to drink, but when offered a glass, they politely refused. When citizens try to speak up about how the fracking has effected their home and lifestyle, they are silenced almost immediately.

Today in our debate, my team and I represented the side against Hydraulic Fracturing. In the research leading up to the debate, the things I discovered were appalling. How can the government allow something that is so clearly bad for the environment, the people, the clean water supply, the food supply, and the air? It doesn’t make sense. Maybe there isn’t any solid proof that fracking is the cause of the many sicknesses and environmental defects. But it becomes clear to anyone that takes the time to look into the chemicals involved and their effects, that fracking is unhealthy. The effort to improve our economy is not worth the harm it does.


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