Analysis on the Ethics of Hydraulinc Fracturing

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Analysis on the Ethics of Hydraulic Fracking

Despite the supposed short-term benefits that hydraulic fracturing, also called “fracking”, may provide for society, the amount of negative externalities conjured via this method of natural gas drilling heavily outweigh the pros. Proponents of the controversial drilling method support their argument referencing potential economic benefits gained from the extraction of hydrocarbons that were previously inaccessible by conventional technologies. However, they fail to factor in the massive environmental impacts that afflict the Earth as a result of fracking such as, contamination of ground water, depletion of fresh water, risks to air quality, noise pollution, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface contamination from spills and flow-back, and the health effects of these. Furthermore, this method of fuel extraction condones a mindset concerned merely with the fulfilment of short-term ends and does not value future generations under a utilitarian standard. The Kantian standard of ethics holds that whenever an action can be applied to society on a universal scale, it can be considered as objectively just. Kant’s categorical imperative values this utilitarian standard, and when applied to the situation of fracking, the imperative renders hydraulic fracking as inherently unjust. While, at face value, fracking may seem like a potential catalyst for economic stimulus, the argument against
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