Energy Alternatives (09:43)
President Barack Obama acknowledged that the United States needed to move away from its dependency on foreign oil but struggled to find a successful alternative. Fracking emerged as the best way to extract gas and oil out of shale. The method has caused problems for those living nearby.
Hydraulic Fracturing (07:42)
Pennsylvania was one of the first states to report air and water quality problems after fracking started. The process involves pumping large amounts of water and toxins to blast apart the shale underground. Fracking quickly became a large industry in the state with thousands of wells being constructed.
Natural Gas (04:53)
The logic behind fracking is that burning natural gas is less harmful than burning fossil fuels. Fracking releases large amounts of methane into the air. Overtime the methane will be as harmful to the atmosphere as gas and oil.
West Virginia (05:06)
With new regulations restricting coal mining, fracking was viewed as a good opportunity in West Virginia. Many West Virginians live beside fracking operations in rural areas.
North Dakota (05:46)
The fracking industry created a boom in the economy in North Dakota, with many people moving to the state for work. The price of oil is lower because production is greater than demand. It has caused numerous drilling operations in North Dakota to close.
Safety Measures (07:13)
The waste water from fracking, which is filled with toxins, is not treated with the same regulations as other toxic material. Many rigs will clean up spills themselves to avoid paying fines. Workers are pressured to not report accidents or injuries.
Neighbors of natural gas wells report the same health complaints. Wells are still allowed close to homes, schools, and hospitals. Many people are unaware that the wells hold toxic waste.
Federal Government (06:00)
The oil and gas industry has worked with politicians to get itself exempt from laws designed to protect the environment. The industry was able to exaggerate the benefits of fracking with little oversight. The EPA has investigated fracking complaints but has not fully addressed the problems.
Earthquakes and Injection Wells (05:35)
Oklahoma and other states that rarely experience earthquakes have seen a drastic rise after fracking started. The oil and gas industry over-predicted the success of fracking, which lead to the high numbers of wells. Most wells will use up all the available natural gas within three years.
Land Rights (07:10)
The oil and gas industry has taken over parts of New Mexico from ranchers to create oil fields. Though the landowner owns the land, the federal government owns the minerals underneath it.
Zoning Laws (03:27)
The oil and gas industry is able to circumvent zoning laws, which control how land is used. The Department of Natural Resources can ignore those laws if oil or natural gas is involved.
With the drought in California, cleaned waste water from fracking is sometimes used to water corps. Toxins and chemicals have been found in the water. Some fracking facilities are in densely populated areas.
Anti-Fracking Movement (07:01)
New York has a large reserve of shale gas. A protest movement started to ban fracking in the state, which Governor Andrew Cuomo approved.
Clean Energy Revolution (06:26)
The renewable energy industry is growing, which is creating more jobs and cutting down on energy costs. The use of coal, oil, and gas has decreased.
Credits: Dirty Fuel - Clean Energy: The Choice Is Now (03:18)
Credits: Dirty Fuel - Clean Energy: The Choice Is Now
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