Fracking: Why the Sudden Boom?


Specifically, I look at how fracking works, why it’s become so prevalent in the last 15 years, and why there’s been such a large backlash against it. In short, it’s fracking, explained.


Transcript Provided by YouTube:

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[Music]
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over the last decade and a half fracking
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has become a contentious issue for many
00:09
American fracking and the natural gas it
00:12
produces simultaneously been hailed as
00:15
the perfect transitional fuel for the
00:17
United States and criticized as a
00:20
dangerous fuel extraction method that
00:22
jeopardizes water sources and causes
00:25
earthquakes but hydraulic fracturing has
00:27
been used commercially since the 1940s
00:30
so why is fracking exploded within the
00:32
last 15 years with nearly 13 million
00:36
Americans living at least one mile from
00:38
a well and why has there been such a
00:41
substantial backlash before we go any
00:44
further let’s quickly clear up why it’s
00:46
called fracking and how it works there
00:49
are actually two types of hydraulic
00:51
fracturing vertical and horizontal
00:53
vertical fracking has been used since
00:56
the 1940s and essentially consists of
00:59
born down vertically into the earth to
01:01
hit the desired rock layer and then
01:03
injecting large amounts of water and
01:06
chemicals to create fractures and that
01:09
layer through which oil and gas can flow
01:12
hence fracking but by combining
01:15
hydraulic fracturing and horizontal
01:17
drilling techniques companies in the
01:20
1990s were able to drill down vertically
01:22
to their desired deposit and then drill
01:25
horizontally along that deposit to
01:27
maximize the returns from the well this
01:30
new way of drilling opened up previously
01:33
unprofitable tracts of land like the
01:35
Marcellus Shale deposit in the
01:37
northeastern United States and it was
01:39
part of a perfect storm of factors that
01:41
led to the New York rise of natural gas
01:45
as a profitable product for oil and gas
01:47
companies among the various incentives
01:49
that helps jumpstart the rapid
01:51
production of shale gas in the early
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2000s was the relatively high price of
01:56
natural gas at the beginning of the
01:58
decade so the combination of
01:59
technologically advantageous drilling
02:02
techniques and
02:03
higher price of natural gas meant that
02:05
oil and gas companies could drill more
02:07
at a lower cost and sell it at a steeper
02:10
price thus expanding their margins and
02:12
ultimately transforming natural gas
02:14
extraction into a profitable enterprise
02:17
unfortunately the rampant proliferation
02:20
of fracking wells across the country
02:21
also meant an increasingly negative
02:24
impact on the environment on top of the
02:26
fact that natural gas is a fossil fuel
02:28
and burning it emits carbon dioxide in
02:31
the air albeit at smaller amounts when
02:33
compared to conventional oil fracking
02:36
wells can contaminate drinking water
02:38
while the millions of gallons of
02:40
chemical water solution used to frack
02:42
wells is sometimes recycled for
02:44
injection into new wells often it’s
02:46
either returned deep into the ground or
02:49
held in mind holding pools that are
02:51
prone to leakage as a result of this
02:54
unintended drainage cases of
02:56
contaminated water sources in
02:57
communities close to fracking sites
02:59
began cropping up across the country but
03:02
anti-fracking activism was generally
03:04
small and grassroots until Josh Fox’s
03:08
2010 film Gasland
03:10
through the top of the anti-fracking
03:12
movement helping to generate a wealth of
03:14
effort towards quelling the rise of
03:17
natural gas extraction this home
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resonated with people both because it
03:20
was an emotional plea for help and
03:22
because it masterfully used what
03:24
Greenpeace calls a mind on or
03:26
essentially images that were so shocking
03:29
that force people into action shots like
03:32
this gripped the audience both with fear
03:34
and anger
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as you watch a homeowner literally like
03:38
to tap water on fire it’s hard not to
03:40
think towards the safety of your own
03:42
drinking water while also considering
03:44
how to challenge the ramp infraction
03:47
that Fox reveals throughout the movie
03:49
natural gas often masquerades as a
03:51
transitional fuel from more emission to
03:54
heavy sources like coal to cleaner
03:57
sources like solar or wind but the
04:00
problem with this justification is that
04:02
it has enabled and supported 15 years
04:05
worth of fracking infrastructure we’ve
04:07
essentially locked in natural gas as an
04:10
American fuel for a number of years to
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come which means let’s focus on building
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infrastructure for sustainable power
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when we really needed the most
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this video is made possible in part by
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the wonderful people who support me on
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04:28
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04:32
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04:40
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subscribe and so much for watching and
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I’ll see you next Friday


This post was previously published on YouTube.

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