Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

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

Blog 9 Evaluating Sources

 

* Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/21/after-alabama-immigration-law-few-americans-taking-immigrants-work_n_1023635.html

Is the information in this source accurate and trustworthy? How can you tell?

The website is liberal and only really shows information for continued appreciation of this side. I would not consider it a news source due to topics not being discussed from alternative viewpoints. However, the article itself seems to be credible, as stated below, and as such ought to be trustworthy and accurate.

Is the information in this source appropriate for an academic paper? Why or why not?

Due to the writers’ names being printed next to the AP symbol, I find this to be credible information because I find the Associated Press to be one of the most credible sources in the world. Because the information is credible, it is completely appropriate for an academic paper.

How well does the source address your topic and developing stance?

This is a good article for showing some background on how the new laws are affecting the farmers and the industry. It also shows how Americans react to new available jobs, and what farmers have had to do to stay afloat without cheap labor. It is a good start, and a good article to work with while researching this topic.

 

* Source: http://immigrationreform.com/2011/10/14/soviet-style-disinformation-in-alabama/.

Is the information in this source accurate and trustworthy? How can you tell?

I do not find this source to be accurate and trustworthy – the website and foundation seem to be one-sided and biased. The article, itself, started off with a sentence relating the former Soviet Union to the illegal alien advocacy in that it said that they were similar because they both use a disinformation tactic. An article essentially attacking one side is usually not credible.

            The article also discusses how the advocacy uses disinformation to spread things supposedly not true about the new immigration law. However, looking at the items the author listed as hyperbole, essentially, I can see some truth in them due to my previous experience. I met a friend in May who is Hispanic, American and living in Arizona. Since the law’s enactment, he has been stopped 19 times while driving alone, and asked for his papers. He has never been stopped while driving with his Caucasian wife in the passenger’s seat. Because this man was the head leader for a leadership retreat that I attended, I find him to be a much more credible source even despite his experience with a whole different state.

Is the information in this source appropriate for an academic paper? Why or why not?

I don’t find this source to be appropriate for an academic paper, so of course the information within is not appropriate either. This article seems to be more of a pissed off asshole writing about what’s currently shoving the stick up in there just a little bit further.

How well does the source address your topic and developing stance?

            The only way this article could possibly be helpful is if I just look at is as a display of how angry and worked up people can get about this issue. If this is going to affect my stance, I would naturally sway to be on the opposite side of this writer because he has a Republican feel and does not have credibility nor use credible sources, nor cite any information he has “collected.”

 

* Source: http://www.politifact.com/rhode-island/statements/2011/feb/06/terry-gorman/gorman-says-illegal-immigrants-cost-rhode-island-4/.

Is the information in this source accurate and trustworthy? How can you tell?

PolitiFact.com seems to be run by the St. Petersburg Times in Florida and as such seems to be a credible source of information since newspapers are supposed to be credible. I also took a look at the cited sources and they all seem to be credible as well. There are also links to places such as the US Census Bureau so that I can actually see the figures myself and compare to the article.

Is the information in this source appropriate for an academic paper? Why or why not?

This source seems to be attempting to debunk a statement made by providing numerous facts and figures. I feel that this is a good source to use, but more as a starting point. For example, find statistics in this source, but double check them and actually cite some other source, in text, such as the Census Bureau, and include both citations in the references.

How well does the source address your topic and developing stance?

This source throws a lot of different statistics at you. It seems to be a good place to see a lot of rebuttal information – it would also be a good idea to track the source of the quote this article is rebutting. It would be wise to make sure that the quote itself was not taken out of inappropriate context for this situation and issue.

Blog 8: Rhetorical Context Analysis for Unit 3 and 4

Blog 8: Rhetorical Context Analysis for Unit 3 and 4

1. What will you research and write about? Why are you interested in this topic?

*I will research and write about the hydraulic fracturing controversy. I am interested in this topic because I am interested in natural resources, particularly those of the United States, and want to preserve, or at least conserve and use sustainable practices to keep our resources healthy and viable for ourselves and future generations. I want to research this topic because the process used has potential implications for our watersheds and therefore our drinking water… nationwide. I also find this topic interesting because it involves natural gas, one of our main energy sources, and I want to see if there are cleaner and equally good or better alternatives, and if so, why we aren’t using them.

2. How is your topic in need of urgent, immediate attention—how is it exigent?

*Consumption of natural gas is increasing in the US, therefore fracking is occurring at this very moment. This is also exigent in that there are no federal regulations on this method of natural gas retrieval so local people have to rely on their state governments to regulate properly. This may be leading to contaminated drinking water supplies.

3. What do you already know about your topic? What do you need to learn about your topic?

*I already know the basic controversy/argument: fracking companies claim that they 1. Shouldn’t have to disclose their “slurry” that they are injecting into the ground and 2. That slurry is not contaminating drinking water and they are exempt from the Clean Water Act anyway, so it is no concern. The other side is local peoples near fracking rigs, environmentalists, and those with potentially affected drinking water claiming that the fracking process injects harmful chemicals into the ground that then leech into the well water, especially. The fracking process also uses a lot of water, which is another thing environmentalists are against. I also know what the process entails

*I need to learn where exactly this process is occurring in the country, and others. I need to learn why fracking companies believe that putting chemicals into the ground wouldn’t be harmful. I would like to learn how much water is injected for what return of gas. I need to know how much gas we have in our country and how long that will last if we continue at current and/or projected rates of consumption. I would love to learn what other things besides sand and water are being injected – I think there may be one state that requires this disclosure.

4. What is your stance on your topic—what you will be arguing with regard to your topic?

*My stance is essentially anti-fracking and pro-alternative energy methods. I would consider fracking, given higher standards and more regulations.

5. What oppositional or differing stances will you need to refute in your argument? How much do you know so far about why people might disagree with you?

*“Our nation relies on natural gas.”

*Rebuttal: There are numerous alternative methods

*Rebuttal: Our nation also relies on clean water

*”Fracking does not contaminate drinking water

*Rebuttal: tap water on fire

*Rebuttal: There are no regulations – how can we test?

*Fracking has low environmental impact

*Rebuttal: the fracking process injects chemicals, sand, and water deep into the earth

*Fracking is exempt from the Clean Water Act – WHAT?!

*Low cost

*Rebuttal: Profits go to natural gas companies, not local or national economies.

*Fracking creates jobs

*Rebuttal: So does clean energy production

*Rebuttal: The jobs are temporary

6. What kinds of research do you intend to gather? Why?

*Water contamination research in the various areas fracking occurs vs doesn’t occur because proof is needed to make a viable argument in regards to drinking water being contaminated

*What kinds of contaminants are going into our nations soil and potentially ending up in our water?

*Social aspects research – how fracking affects locals and state/local governments. I feel this is important not only since my major is in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and therefore this is highly applicable, but also because it is the people that have the power. What they have to say may affect future development.

*An answer to why fracking companies will not disclose what they are injecting into the earth.

7. Who is your target audience? Why have you chosen this group to address?

*I think the best target audience is the American population, ages 25-33 (though limited by who will read). I fall in this age demographic and feel that a lot of my peers do not understand or even know about fracking. A lot of this demographic has graduated college, but not continued on to further their education. I feel that as a natural resource and non-traditional student, myself, I know a lot more than my demographic cohorts when it comes to the subject of hydraulic fracturing. We are the up-and-coming generation of decision-makers and need to be informed on topics affecting our only planet.

8. What kinds of agency does this audience have with regard to your topic? How does this audience have agency with regard to your group’s message/purpose?

*We are a voting demographic

*This audience uses and is therefore affected by natural gas.

*This demographic is technologically savvy and therefore can spread messages quickly and effectively in a multimodal world.

*This demographic may be more environmentally concerned.

9. What are some possible limitations and opportunities posed by your rhetorical situation? Consider the requirements of the assignment, the publication medium, your topic, your research, your past work on this topic, etc.

*Limitations

*There will probably not be many people reading my paper

*Lack of available information

*Lack of research

*Opportunities

*Voter turnout/reaction can become anti-fracking

*Regulations on the industry

Blog 7 – Unit 1 Reflection

After completing Unit 1 in my CO300 Writing Arguments class I feel a lot more informed about the topic of rhetoric, itself. I always heard the term thrown around, and thought I had a decent grasp of what rhetoric actually means, or what it is, but until the past few weeks, I apparently did not actually really understand the term or its implications. The analyses of Toulmin and Bitzer, in particular, helped me grasp the concept of rhetoric and its effectiveness in written pieces, especially.

Of the different analysis types or ways to decide if a piece is effective rhetoric – it could be that he was the first assigned material in class from when I was excited to be back in school – I enjoyed the Bitzer analysis the most. His writing was slightly complicated but if you took the time to read it consciously he seemed to have a lot of interesting ideas. I liked that he had straight-forward rules to follow when analyzing written material to decide whether or not the piece is rhetoric and if so, whether or not it is an effective piece of rhetoric. For my analytical mind, these rules were perfect to help me in identifying and analyzing different rhetorical components. He was also very clear and concise in exactly what the pieces of a rhetorical argument are, which made it very easy to dissect an article and find each individual component.

I also really enjoyed the Rogerian article, though for different reasons than the Bitzer article. I enjoyed the Rogerian methodology of discussing an article’s rhetorical effectiveness because it makes the most sense to me to get someone on an opposing side to at least understand your viewpoint, if not start to switch sides themselves. I found his method to be most effective when looking at or discussing a philosophical piece of writing, or to use his method when writing this type of article, paper, or essay. I also find this method to be slightly sneaky or manipulative of the audience due to the fact that the goal is to show that you understand the opposing side and by showing so, it helps to get those opposing to switch sides.

Knowing more about how rhetoric is “supposed” to work, according to multiple different “analysts” has helped me in my subject matter: fracking. The problem I now see is that while I feel more informed about how to analyze an article or piece of writing or rhetoric and as such can decide whether or not a piece is effective to a target audience, I feel that the general American population is not aware of how to analyze an article properly. I feel that this is a frustrating point – not only is a good portion of our culture uneducated to a higher-education level, but they also cannot necessarily determine the credibility nor effectiveness of an article. I feel that politicians take this into account and tend to use the Rogerian method of rhetorical writing to manipulate this uneducated population into believing whatever it is that they wish you to believe. I suppose it is just people who argue a point when they are uninformed or uneducated about the subject who frustrate me most, and this Rogerian form seems to really enhance misinformation when you want it to.

I guess that’s really all I’ve got to reflect on for now – I feel better about reading articles and journals, especially, now that I have knowledge of rhetorical effectiveness, and just having a mindset to really take apart and analyze a piece of writing or other multimodal forms.

Blog 6 – Using Images as Argument

I am not sure I would consider this image an argument – if it is I’m not sure I can decipher the claim.  This cartoon appears to have been made by someone on the oppositional side of fracking, displaying how the shale gas drillers destroy tap (drinking) water yet show that it’s still ok because the glass is still half clean. From the cartoonist’s standpoint, maybe the claim could be that natural gas drillers are tricky people and while destroying your water, they don’t want you to think that that is what is actually happening. Another, simpler claim could be that natural gas drilling leads to contaminated tap water. Reasons supporting the claim could be just the “fact” that the water is “half clean” as opposed to half dirty, which wouldn’t make an effective political cartoon. Half clean is an effective use of sarcasm, which is a good draw for many readers and stakeholders in the fracking debate. Another reason would be the faucet labeled, “Marcellus Shale Drinking Water” and the shirt labeled “natural gas drillers” which show exactly what is going on. The reasons are more clear to me than the actual claim and part of the reason for this is that the reasons are actually written words in this cartoon – not simply implied. There is an intended audience – mostly those opposed to fracking, though anyone in-the-know about the debate could be an appropriate piece to the audience. The claims I came up with for what this piece is potentially saying is being used by (probably) both the author and others, making that portion an effective argument, however I’m not sure the claim is used to convince the audience. Yes, it shows what fracking can do to your tap water, but most people have heard that already and therefore I do not see it as a swaying argument.