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Effects Of Fracking On The Environment And Human Health

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As nations search for less carbon intensive forms of energy the demand for gas has grown rapidly worldwide in recent years. This significant increase in demand has led to a boom in world gas prices. In Australia, there are large reserves of unconventional natural gas compared to conventional natural gas. However, according to the Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics (BREE) there is enough conventional natural gas in Australia to supply all of Australia at current levels for more than 6130 years.
Fracking extracts hydrocarbons from previously inaccessible sources of oil and gas using hydraulically pressurised liquid to fracture rock and release gas trapped in coal seams (Hester, R & Harrison, R). This gas was once unprofitable because
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Can contaminate groundwater that local landowners that farmers and local communities need. Gas leaks that may damage local fauna and flora and could have detrimental effects on the native wildlife. Takes an enormous amount of water (8 million gallons) to complete each fracturing job. Seismic surveying needs to be undertaken to determine where resources lie, seismic surveying has a detrimental impact on ecosystems – weed spreading, land clearing, dividing up and disturbing landscapes for access roads.
Major reasons for water contamination from shale gas fracking operations:
Well casing failure due to corrosion or faulty construction. Disposal of fracking “flowback” fluids, the water mixed with fracking chemicals must be store and then disposed of after the fracking of each gas well. Storage and disposal of used fracking fluids can contaminate surface and/or ground water. Emissions happen at point of both extraction, combustion and processing of the gas.
Gas fracking releases methane into the atmosphere which is a powerful greenhouse gas.

The health impacts
The chemicals used in fracking are of concern. Current lack of research in this area.
National Toxics Network produced a statement saying that “Our investigation found that of 23 common fracking chemicals used in Australia, only 2 have ever been assessed.
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