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Pecha Kucha is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total).
a Pecha Kucha presentation based on the chosen theme and issue(s) discussed in their Final Project Product Proposal, providing images on each slide to support the narrative of the presentation.
Final Project Proposal: Fracking. Definition, Environmental Concerns, & Facts
Final Project Proposal: Fracking. Definition, Environmental Concerns, & Facts
Introduction to the Problem
Problem to be addressed. Everyone knows that the use of fossil fuels is the origin of a wide range of problems that plague the future of our society, its economy, and the environment. Not only have we built practically almost our entire economic system on a fossil pillar that is seeing its reserves diminish every second. This type of energy is damaging the environment in many ways —global warming, air pollution…— and causing numerous social conflicts. However, consuming it is not the only source of harmful effects for our planet, the mere fact of extracting these fossil fuels can sometimes cause irreparable damage to Mother Nature herself. A perfect piece of evidence is fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, an exploitation system that leaves its mark on our earth’s crust.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, mounting evidence shows that it poses serious threats to our health, environment, and climate future. (Denchak, 2019)
Problem subtopic. Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a fuel harvesting process in which sand, water, and chemicals are pumped underground through drilled wells. This high-pressure fluid fractures shale rock formations, allowing drilling companies to access large amounts of oil and gas trapped within the rock. (Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), n.d.)
Although the extraction of these raw materials has meant an economic boom for the countries that apply this technique, it has had an environmental cost. In countries such as the United States and Great Britain, the controversy between defenders (who exalt its advantages as an economic-productive procedure) and detractors (who point to the environmental toll and the effects on the health of the local and territorial population of the geographical areas
involved) is permanent and sometimes involve national governments. (British Broadcasting Corporation, 2022)
Possible Causes and Maintaining Forces
Cause. The first of the consequences of fracking has to do with water. The hydraulic fracturing process requires large amounts of water. A 2015 US Geological Survey estimated that a single well can use between 2,600 m³ and 36,000 m³ of water per well. Wells that employ horizontal drilling in shale gas zones use the largest amounts of water to operate.
Once the water is used for fracturing, it becomes contaminated with the chemicals used for this process. Some fracking companies send this wastewater deep underground, where they believe it is too far away to affect drinking water quality. Other companies send the water to treatment plants for purification and reuse.
Unfortunately, fracturing fluids contain some known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, and treatment plants do not always remove them successfully. Some studies also suggest that wastewater affects the quality of drinking water over time. Although some of the water contamination could be the result of human error, there is concern that the problem is more widespread.
Due to trade secret laws, fracking companies are not required to report all of the chemicals they use during the extraction process. In addition, there is concern that the storage of sewage in the subsoil is putting pressure on geological faults and contributing to the increase in the number of earthquakes. (Petruzzello, n.d.)
Cause. Another consequence of fracking is air pollution. Although experts initially believed that natural gas was a cleaner fossil fuel than coal and oil, they are beginning to worry that it is worse. Fracking wells release large amounts of methane into the atmosphere,
which warms the planet for a decade before breaking down into carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas.
Fracking wells are also known to emit volatile organic compounds. These compounds are toxic to humans and have been linked to asthma, cancer, and other serious illnesses. Some studies have also linked fracking pollution to birth defects, nervous system damage, and skin problems.
Unlike contaminated water, which can affect distant communities, air pollution is concentrated near drilling wells. To protect their health, many people have chosen to move when a fracking company drills nearby. Even with precautions, leaks are always possible, and chemicals from fracking wells are too well documented to be ignored.
Unfortunately, fracking companies often drill in low-income communities. Although there may be many reasons for this, the health hazards that come with the piercing process end up affecting those who have the least resources to defend themselves or change their circumstances. (Petruzzello, n.d.).
Cause. The third of the consequences of fracking has to do with the soil itself. If fracking wastewater is accidentally spilled or not properly purified, it can leach heavy metals and other toxic compounds into the ground. These chemicals can make the land less fertile and even poison the soil, affecting farmers.
Heavy soil is essential for a healthy environment as it filters water and provides a fertile environment conducive to growing healthy food. In any ecosystem, all other forms of life depend on healthy soil and thriving, diversified vegetation.
However, soil contaminated by hydraulic fracturing does the opposite of what healthy soil should do. It poisons the water instead of filtering it and can transfer heavy metals and
other toxins to the food that grows there. Livestock that eat these feeds can become ill or spread the toxins to consumers.
In some places, the treated wastewater is used to irrigate crops. Unfortunately, studies suggest that typical water treatment plants are not rigorous enough to remove the toxic chemicals present in fracking wastewater. Salt used for fracking can also destroy the fertility of farmland if it spills. (Petruzzello, n.d.).
Why the problem persists. The problem of fracking persists because, despite the environmental and health problems that it brings with it, it is defended for its purely economic and technological benefits that earn it the support of a large economic and financial sector that dilutes and hinders efforts to eliminate its practice.
According to economists and analysts, the exploration and exploitation of Unconventional Deposits would be essential to increase the energy reserves of the countries that stand out in their application. For this reason, they consider it vital to ensure their energy sustainability and promote social and economic development.
Among its national benefits can be cited the benefits for the nations:
· These operations encourage foreign direct investment, which has a positive impact on the dynamics of economic growth.
· As exploration confirms the potential of these nations, it is predicted that the levels of energy reserves could multiply.
· Higher oil production means that nations will have more money to finance social policies and development in their national territories.
· The energy self-sufficiency of these countries could be ensured for several more years, while consolidating their profiles as energy exporters.
Why the problem persists. From the regional point of view, it also brings substantial benefits, since once the production stage begins, many jobs are generated in the regions and the goods and services sector is spread out, which help to considerably lower the rates of unemployment.
In North Dakota (considering the United States of America) for example, the demand for employment has been so significant that there are cities, such as Williston, where the unemployment level is below 1%.
In addition, the development and production operations in Unconventional Deposits require many inputs, which must be provided by the local industries of goods and services. (Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), n.d.)
Collusion between political and economic powers: under the Bush Junior administration and after incessant lobbying by transnational energy companies, several of the most important environmental protection laws in the US have been repealed, including the Drinking Water Law Safe, so that said law would not apply to fracking.
This provision has come to be called the “loophole” or the “Halliburton amendment”, since the multinational Halliburton is one of the pioneers and one of the largest providers of hydraulic fracturing services in the US, and whose previous executive director was none other than that Dick Cheney, then Vice President of the United States when this specific legal exemption was approved.
Background and Justification
Prior attempts and previously proposed solutions.
Each country has developed its own mechanisms to control, regulate and limit the environmental impact of fracking in their territories.
In the United States, for example, we have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), focused on working with states and other key stakeholders to help ensure that economic prosperity from unconventional oil and natural gas extraction does not occur at the expense of public resources, health, and environment.
According to their website, they have played a leading role in convening stakeholders and outreach to communities, tribes, individual citizens, trade associations, state and federal partners, industry, and environmental organizations that have a solid interest in their work and agency policies related to unconventional oil and natural gas extraction. (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2022)
Although the practice of fracking dates to the late 1940s, it was not until this century that true critical analyzes of the subject were made.
Oil and natural gas companies must comply with the requirements of various federal laws on environmental protection and public safety, even considering that the main regulatory authority on fracking within their borders is generally held by state governments. ( Ballotpedia, n.d.)
These laws include the law that limits air pollution called the Clean Air Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (which regulates the disposal of hazardous waste). There is also the Clean Water Law, in charge of regulating the discharge of pollutants into navigable waters, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Responsibility Law, which monitors the occurrence and cleanup of dangerous spills. ( Ballotpedia, n.d.)
Deficiencies in the solution paradigm. At the federal level, fracking regulations present too little pressure. In fact, in 2005, Congress exempted most types of fracking from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, severely limiting protections for water quality. In April
2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency finalized new Clean Air Act rules called “New Source Performance Standards” that will limit air pollutants from fracked gas wells…but the rules did not cover oil wells, did not set limits on methane release, and did not take effect until 2015.
Even oil and gas companies that frack wells on federally managed public lands are rarely fined for violating environmental and safety regulations, and the few fines that are imposed are small compared to the profits from the company. industry, according to a report. 2012 Congressional Report. As a result, fracking regulation falls largely to the states.
Inadequate disclosure and poor protections are common features of state fracking laws. In Texas, for example, companies routinely exploit a trade secret loophole to avoid revealing what chemicals they are using in fracking fluid. Companies used the Texas trade secret exemption about 19,000 times in the first eight months of 2012.
Despite state fracking regulations, more than 100 cases of contamination have been confirmed by Pennsylvania state agencies in the last five years. (Center for Biological Diversity, n.d.)
Supplemental Material. It is necessary to consider the health repercussions that the practice of fracking can bring to the inhabitants and the community in general settled in territories annexed to the extraction sites that apply this procedure.
For example, some studies have tied living near fracking and unconventional natural gas development sites to higher chances for conditions like:
· Low birth weight
· Premature births
· Certain types of cancer, like lymphoma and childhood leukemia
· Heart-related problems
· Elderly people dying sooner
· Birth defects (Starkman, 2022)
Newly Proposed Deliverable
The primary objective of this activity is to create awareness regarding the obvious effects that the practice of fracking brings to nature, human beings, the planet and the forms of life in general that surround these drilling sites. With this, it is desired to build the necessary arguments to achieve the necessary popular pressure that can achieve the development of legislation that prohibits the continuity of this type of oil exploitation.
Through workshops and seminars, I intend to make visible the many reasons why it is necessary not only to become aware of this harmful process, but also the active participation of students, attendees and the general public in the promotion and dissemination of this content. , as well as achieving that as a community we can put pressure on our legislators, congressmen and representatives before governments at all levels with the aim of enacting laws that reject not only this hydrocarbon extraction procedure, but the redirection of national efforts towards others renewable and sustainable energy issues that replace the current energy matrix of the country.
Significance to the student.
The world (and in its greatest expression, the United States of America) is choosing to continue squeezing every liter of hydrocarbon out of the rocks while avoiding facing a problem that lies before us and is inescapable: the transition from an economy based on fossil fuels, towards societies with a low ecological footprint (particularly energy) and renewable and non-polluting technologies. It is necessary, finally, to assume that current model is unsustainable, first because fossil fuel reserves are increasingly scarce, and on the other hand because of all the environmental problems associated with their exploration, exploitation, production, and consumption.
Every living person regardless age, gender, spiritual beliefs, or specific circumstance shall be compromised with such important issue as the world we are leaving to future generations.
External dissemination platform.
Public and private spaces such as magazines, newspapers,
websites, universities, and platforms compromised with community and nature welfare are excellent scenarios to address those issues.
Proposed length and justification
Using several valuable sources of information, the activity will be between 3 and 5 pages long.
Goal of new deliverable.
The creative and original use of the large number of sources of information and analysis regarding the subject of fracking and its detrimental influence will be essential in
achieving the audience’s identification with the subject without making it monotonous or boring.
Success outcome measures. If the level of encouragement and rapport of the attendees with the given subject is reached, it will be possible to achieve the conviction that active action on local, regional, and national power and government instances is the appropriate mechanism to reverse the current trends regarding to the energy development of the nation.
Enhancement of global awareness
The current global demand for fossil fuels and the near depletion of conventional deposits has pushed the hydrocarbon industry to take advantage of new types of resources that have not been exploited until now. New drilling techniques have facilitated this movement, which has also had institutional support in many countries, blinded by the discovery of a new El Dorado. In this situation, the use of unconventional gas deposits through hydraulic fracturing is currently receiving the most attention. However, this technique entails serious environmental and public health risks, which both the operating companies and the institutions involved want to ignore. The institutional propaganda campaigns simply ignore them and disqualifies those who demand that the precautionary principle be applied. The effort of this task is focused on counteracting these campaigns.
Enhancement of global perspective-taking.
The dispute over the effects of fracking on health, climate change and the environment has been going on for a long time. However, it has been revitalized in the United States in recent days following the simultaneous publication of two conflicting reports. Both sides wield their powerful arguments each in favor of their cause.
Despite its supposed advantages, the truth is that it has come to demonstrate the fragility of ecosystems around the world, and this task aims to highlight those dangers that threaten societies regardless of where on the planet it is applied.
Ballotpedia.org. Retrieved from Fracking in the United States: https://ballotpedia.org/Fracking_in_the_United_States#Federal_fracking_policies
British Broadcasting Corporation. (2022, April 7).
British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved from What is fracking and why is it controversial?: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-14432401
Center for Biological Diversity. (n.d.).
Biologicaldiversity.org. Retrieved from Fracking in the United States: 10 Key Questions: https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/fracking/10_questions.html
Denchak, M. (2019, April 19).
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. Retrieved from Fracking 101: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/fracking-101
Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA). (n.d.).
Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA). Retrieved from Hydraulic Fracturing: https://www.ipaa.org/fracking/
Petruzzello, M. (n.d.).
Britannica.com. Retrieved from Fracking: https://www.britannica.com/technology/fracking
Starkman, E. (2022, August 18).
WebMD.com. Retrieved from What Are Fracking’s Possible Health Effects?: https://www.webmd.com/lung/fracking-health-effects
United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2022, August 01).
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved from Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Development: https://www.epa.gov/uog
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