Archive for November, 2011

Blog 12 – Outline

Thesis: Hydraulic fracturing ought to be regulated federally.

 

Introduction:

Explain what hydraulic fracturing is. Introduce the term, “fracking.”

State thesis and support with reasons. Explain why fracking is not regulated (or rather that it is, but by the states)

 

Supporting Paragraph:

Reason 1: State legislatures do not regulate hydraulic fracturing well enough

Evidence: The fracking companies do not have to disclose what is in their fracking fluid (except in a state or two).

Evidence: Left up to the states, there is no consistency in the fracking industry

Evidence: States do not require an EIS or even EA since that is a requirement of the EPA and NEPA, national/federal agency and act

 

Supporting Paragraph:

Reason 3: Hydraulic fracturing operations do not require an Environmental Impact Statement, or even an Environmental Assessment

Evidence: States do not require assessment of environmental impacts because they are federally mandated laws

Evidence: Potential land, drinking water, watershed, river, and land degradation. All of this goes unchecked so our environment may be suffering, too. – Exempt from CWA and CAA.

Evidence: NEPA would require that the public be involved in the planning process and evaluation process of potential fracking sites. If fracking affects the people, they have a right to be involved.

Evidence: NEPA requires an EIS for anything that causes a “significant impact.” – fracking wells are drilled a mile deep (down) and up to a few miles horizontally (parallel with the ground, but a mile underneath the surface). This is significant on its own, but there is also significant impact caused by injecting unnatural things into the ground. New research is also pointing out earthquakes caused by fracking – another significant impact.

 

Supporting Paragraph:

Reason 2: Hydraulic fracturing may be contaminating drinking water

Evidence: Gasland – explain the movie and why there was a need to make it.

Evidence: Case studies and/or testimonials from those living near and affected by fracking

Evidence: Fracking companies do not have to disclose what they put into the ground and their system so the public and indeed the rest of the nation cannot ever say, “there is a direct correlation between contaminated drinking water and hydraulic fracturing activities” because there is no definite. – Exempt from Clean Water Act.

 

Objection from Opposition: There is no proof that fracking causes contaminated drinking water.

Rebuttal: Without disclosure of what they put into our lands, it is true that we cannot draw a provable conclusion that water contamination is due to their efforts.

Evidence to support rebuttal: Lack of transparency in fracking fluid compositions

Evidence to support rebuttal: fracking companies are unwilling to conduct their own research on the effects of the fracking process.

Evidence to support rebuttal: If fracking was federally regulated, the fracking industry would be required to disclose everything going into the earth, as well as how they extract the shale gas, and what they do with the fracking well when drilling is complete.

 

Objection from Opposition: the US has an abundance of shale gas (natural gas). Drilling for it will help to relieve the country of foreign energy dependence.

Rebuttal: Our first-world nation ought to be focusing on switching to clean forms of energy

Evidence to support rebuttal: The US also used to have an abundance of trees and wilderness – now we have cities

Evidence to support rebuttal: Drilling for natural gas is a band-aid solution that will give us energy for some amount of time, but like oil, it is finite.

Evidence to support rebuttal: Various forms of clean energy – discuss a few and why they’re “better” than fracking – show transparency

 

Conclusion:

Reiterate the thesis. Use pathos to tug on heart strings – think of your children….

Ask for readers to continue research and push them to petition for fracking industry transparency. Remind audience that energy is not free and there is an almost intangible cost associated with its retrieval, production, and use – the cost of a clean future, particularly in the natural resources of our nation.

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Blog 11 – Mission Statement

Mission Statement

The mission of my hydraulic fracturing argument advocacy project is to inform my audience about what hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is, the implications of the methodology, and why I believe that hydraulic fracturing is not a good method of retrieving natural gas from shale rock. The mission may also include potentially persuading my audience to either join my perspective’s side or to at least understand why I am anti-hydraulic fracturing.

My main point will be to discuss why fracking is “bad” (why I am anti-fracking) due to the overconsumption of water that the fracking process requires to retrieve natural gas. Along the lines of water, I will also talk about the waste water produced during the hydraulic fracturing process, and what happens to it. I will then discuss the claimed effects fracking has on drinking water near frack drilling wells. Yet another point I would like to mention in my future rhetoric is that hydraulic fracturing companies, or Shale rock/natural gas companies, as well as other oil and energy companies (the industry, essentially), are exempt from national environmental policies such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act).

I will also present my opposing side’s arguments: lack of evidence showing contamination of drinking water; economic gain for themselves, the private land owner who allowed the well, and the country; job creation; and independence from reliance on foreign oil. I plan on discussing their argument and why I believe it is unjust, unethical, or valid. I would also like to show alternative forms of energy (i.e. “green” energy) to explain why I think those forms are better.

Blog 10 – Annotated Bibliography and Multimodal Research Narrative

Annotated Bibliography for Hydraulic Fracturing Research

Citation Style: APA

First section – Summary

Second section: Evaluation of credibility

Third section: What I have learned and/or how the source will be helpful

Arthur, J. Daniel, P.E., ALL Consulting; Bohm, Brian, P.G., ALL Consulting, et al. (2008). Hydraulic fracturing considerations for natural gas wells of the Marcellus shale [PDF document]. The Groundwater Protection Council. Retrieved from http://www.thefriendsvillegroup.com/HydraulicFracturingReport1.2008.pdf

This PDF was presented at the 2008 Ground Water Protection Council’s annual forum in Cincinnati, Ohio. The paper presents multiple facets of the fracking issue: the process of fracking, why fracking is used, geological factors, hydraulic fracturing fluids used, and potential (groundwater) contamination caused by the fracking methodology. This PDF also includes pictures and maps of different aspects of fracking such as locations of drilling sites and boundaries of shale rock in the United States. 

I find this PDF to be a credible source mainly due to the biography given about the lead author. Dan Arthur has a petroleum engineering degree, has worked as the lead researcher for numerous projects involving many fracking-related aspects, including leading projects for the Department of Energy, and is a recognized authority on environmental issues. I also consider this PDF to be credible because the paper clearly cites numerous credible sources of a wide variety.

This PDF document will be helpful in my research because it explains a lot of different aspects of fracking in one website location. This site basically explains everything about fracking. 

Dougherty, Cynthia. (April 7, 2010). Hydraulic fracturing: Applicability of the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act [PowerPoint slides]. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board. Retrieved from http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/5DEE6115FCA43661852576FD006B8460/$File/EPA+Presentation+Materials+4-6-10+for+EEC+Apr+7-8+2010+Meeting.pdf

This slideshow is a PowerPoint presentation by Cynthia Dougherty, the director of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, for the purpose of the Science Advisory Board discussion on April 7, 2010. The PowerPoint bullet-points what the Safe Drinking Water Act is and the standards under the Act, as well as what the Act does not regulate, particularly in regards to hydraulic fracturing. The same can be said for the Clean Water Act in this PowerPoint. The slideshow also discusses a study titled Evaluation of Impacts to Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs (EPA, 2004) which further discusses fracking water and the implications of shale gas.

I found this slideshow to be credible because it was made by a Director of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, which is a branch of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a credible governmental agency.

This slideshow will be helpful to my research because it is from the highest authority in environmental concerns. I feel that information from the EPA is extremely helpful, scientific, and non-biased.

Energy In Depth. (November 4, 2011). Just the facts: Hydraulic fracturing and seismicity. Energy In Depth. Retrieved from http://www.energyindepth.org/tag/hydraulic-fracturing/.

This website summarizes a report about the link between seismic activity, such as earthquakes, and fracking. This study “proves” that hydraulic fracturing actually causes earthquakes measurable on the seismic scale. This study also has reports of individuals actually being able to feel the earthquake, as well. Because the quakes may be large enough to feel, it shows that fracking has a greater environmental impact than just potential water contamination and use.

I find this website to be credible because the organization, Energy In Depth, is composed of a multitude of energy production and/or extraction companies. This seems to be a good website to get information “straight from the horse’s mouth” because of the fact that it is comprised of energy companies. I also find this to be a credible source because, despite the composition of only energy companies, there is a lot of good information about the “cons” of fracking, including the case study/research mentioned above.

This site taught me that humans can actually cause things like earthquakes. It is helpful to my research because it explains how fracking causes this phenomenon, and also gives an in-depth look into a case study that is highly relevant to my argument.

Energy Information Administration. (May 9, 2011). [PDF map of lower 48 states’ shale plays based on data from various published studies.]. U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved from http://38.96.246.204/oil_gas/rpd/shale_gas.pdf.

This PDF is nothing more than a map of the continental United States and the locations of current shale plays, prospective shale plays, and basins. The map also demonstrates the various ages and depths of the plays, layered atop one another.

I find this PDF to be credible because it is a document retrieved from the Energy Information Administration. I also came across this map in other credible websites during my research.

This map is helpful in my research because it shows exactly where shale rock, and therefore natural gas, is located in the United States. This map also helps to determine where there are already operations underway and where potential operations may start drilling. The last thing this map is helpful with is that it names all of the plays, so when I come across the names in research, I can refer to this map to see the location of the named play.

Gilmore, Kevin R., Kirby, Carl S., et.al. (January 11, 2011). Characterization, treatment, and reuse of frac water related to horizontal hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus shale and natural gas exploration in Pennsylvania. [PDF Document]. USGS State Water Resources Research Institute Program. Retrieved from http://water.usgs.gov/wrri/09grants/progress/2009PA95B.pdf.

This report was a study of a Pennsylvania shale region “and an evaluation of membrane treatment for reducing the total dissolved solids (TDS) concentration in flowback water” (Gilmore, 2011). The study concluded that the specific region’s watershed could only support flowback water from 16 shale gas wells, though there were many more in the area. The watershed can only support 16 because of the salt and other mineral concentrations put into the water by fracking companies that then must be removed by water treatment facilities.

I find this source to be credible because I retrieved it from the United States Geologic Survey, a federal organization. This is also credible and applicable to my argument because it is a report from the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center.

This report is helpful in my research because it is from a Water Resources Research Center. The report answers some of the questions I wanted to answer, as stated in my last blog entry outlining what I need to find out and what I want to answer. Specifically, this source is helpful in giving data about what is in water after it is used for fracking purposes.

Kimball, Jay. April 17, 2011. Congress releases report on toxic chemicals used in fracking. 8020 Vision. Retrieved from http://8020vision.com/2011/04/17/congress-releases-report-on-toxic-chemicals-used-in-fracking/.

This website is a blog by Jay Kimball about the negative effects of hydraulic fracturing. He uses a lot of information from the movie, Gasland, as well as numerous credible sources such as the USGS and the EPA. The site has a ton of great links for images, data, and even interactive graphics from credible sources, also.

I find this source to be at least semi-credible due to my seeing many texts, graphics and images from other credible sources. Unfortunately, the bottom of the page tells me that this is a site from WordPress, which happens to be a blogging website.

I find a lot of the information on this website helpful and useful to me as a starting point. Despite the site being more anti-fracking than pro, it has a lot of great data from credible sources rather than a lot of biased jargon. I can use this site as a place to find all of the information I want in one place, but track it back to the actual credible source for use in my paper.

Soeder, Daniel J., Kappel, William M. (2009). Water resources and natural gas production from the Marcellus shale.[PDF Document]. US Geological Survey. Retrieved from http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2009/3032/pdf/FS2009-3032.pdf.

This PDF document gives a background on the Marcellus shale and the fracking process. This document especially goes on to talk about the water use required for fracking, and the effects on the water after it is used for the process. This document also discusses how and why the United States is fracking

This source is undoubtedly credible due to the fact that it is published by the US Geologic Survey. There are also a lot of good in-text citations, as well as a highly accessible references section that may be helpful in looking for more information on any given aspect of the fracking topic.

This source will be helpful to me because it explains a lot about fracking, particularly the aspects that I am trying to research for my argument, in laymen terms. The document is not “dumbed down” but rather is just the simplest way to describe and explain what is involved in the fracking process and the water waste after.

Multimodal Research Narrative: http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/12646856