Alabama is a haven for natural areas. We have unbelievable parks, wildlife, beaches and clean crisp water. These beautiful attributes are the reasons people come to vacation and visit our state. However, one thing that isn’t healthy or appealing is the presence of dangerous oil rigs in our oceans, so close to our coasts that you could almost reach out and touch them.
Fracking is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc., so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas. Shooting pressurized water and chemicals into the ground can result dangerous consequences.
I have never been an ecological activist, but I recently went on a vacation to the gulf highlands for a small stay. The gulf highlands is a peninsula that extends west of the right side of Bon Secour Bay and is a beautiful spot to relax. I was on the beach having a great time fishing, soaking up the sun, but I couldn’t stop staring at the monstrous structures known as oil rigs, which were protruding and seemingly draining the life out of the earth. I became curious and started doing research. While the benefits of fracking are great, the effects of this mining method have an extremely negative output on the environment and communities.
Let’s start with water consumption. More than 8 million gallons of water are used per frack according to alternet.org. 72 trillion gallons of water are used to run current wells, and the sad thing is that more than 90% of the water used in the process completely disappears from the water cycle and is unusable. That’s a sum of 66.24 trillion gallons of water that we could obviously put to use in other places.
A lot of the materials we use in the fracking process is deemed hazardous. These chemicals include radon, uranium, benzene, plutonium, formaldehyde, and many others. 40,000 gallons of these are used per frack. These chemicals are shot into the earth, never to be seen again. Why is this such a bad thing you ask? The reason it’s a terrible waste disposal plan is because this fluid doesn’t always stay in the earth. Sometime it’s regurgitated into the ocean, our water cycle, our filtration system and soil. This means that there’s a chance a large portion of the fish we eat are poisoned, the water in our cup is tainted, and the crops growing aren’t going to provide the right nourishment. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not a big fan of mutated fish.
The point of this article isn’t to scare you too much; it’s to show you the price we are paying for the depleting supply of fossil fuels. If we made more contributions to the discovery and perfecting of a new, natural fuel source with low emissions, our coasts and beaches wouldn’t need to be drilled into, and we could have a relaxing day on the beach without those scary eyesores.