Is Fracking Our Energy Future?

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Four Colorado Front Range cities, Boulder, Longmont, Loveland, and Fort Collins voted to place restrictions on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is sometimes referred to, in the November 2013 elections. Greeley, a neighboring community, has made a statement in the opposite direction. According to journalist Natalya Savka, “There is no talk of a fracking ban in this city of 427 wells, a number that is predicted to quadruple within the next few years” (45). Hydraulic fracturing is the future of clean energy production in the United States, according to the gas and oil industry experts. Alex Prud’homme, author of Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know, says that hydrofracking is defined in different ways by different people. Prud’homme states the following: To those in the energy industry, it refers purely to the process of injecting fluids-which consist of water and between three and twelve chemicals, including hydrochloric acid, sodium chloride, methanol, and isopropyic ethanol, that serve various functions-underground at high pressure to crack open shale rock, release natural gas or oil trapped there, and allow the hydrocarbons to flow to the surface. (24)
To most people, hydrofracking or fracking is just an easy way to describe the processes used to drill a well and extract oil and gas from the site. Weld County, where Greeley is the largest city, is home to “more than 20,000 active oil and gas wells,” the most in the United States (Savka 45). The city is

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