Sunday’s Platform (9/22) featured Matt Smith, organizer for Food & Water Watch in New Jersey. Matt spoke about “fracking” (short for hydraulic fracturing), a technique for extracting natural gas from hitherto uneconomic geologic formations. The technique works by pumping huge quantities of chemicals and water underground, under high pressure, and then causing an explosive force to fracture the rock formations and release the natural gas, hence the name.
Matt became an environmental activist after graduation college with a degree in Finance and Business and folloiwng a sting “running number”: with an investment advistory firm. He felt that he wanted to do somehting more meaningful in his life and got into environmental activism.
The problems with fracking are many and among them are that natural gas itself, when leaked directly into the atmosphere by the drilling and fracking process, is orders of magnitude worse as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. What’s more, as suppliers drive prices down in an effort to increase volume enough to become profitable (which it is not), it drives our dependance on plastics – especially single use plastics – and makes us even more dependent on fossil fuels. Also, the wastewater from fracking is highly polluted and difficult to get rid of.
What’s more, it has turned out that fracking causes earthquakes in otherwise earthquake free places like Oklahoma and Wester Canada (see this article, for example)