The team over at Visual Capitalist have put together a really informative Infographic on natural gas titled “Natural Gas: North America’s Energy Future – or Just Hot Air?“. Overall the infographic is very good, however, they fall short on their comments in regards to the “fracking” process. In the infographic they paste a warning that states:
“Hydrolic fracking is very controversioal process with mounting environmental and and regulatory concerns. Environmental organizations have numerous concerns with air quality, water usage, and wastewater management, methan contamination, microseismic events, and the chemicals used in “fracking”.
Though such a statement is factual in that, yes, environmentals have voiced these concerns. That does not make the statements factual. There are independent experts that contradict these statements. So they become merely opinions with equally impressive professional / expert support.
The one thing that could have been mentioned is that technology improves constantly, and though some of these concerns may have been an issue five years ago they are no longer an issue today or have been de-risked considerably. For example, the solutions or “chemicals” used in the fracking process are now non-toxic and are 99.9% recoverable posing little risk in this part of the process (see Gas Frac Energy Services).
Unfortunately, the environmental arguements have not caught up to recent technology, and have become more political and less factual. There is always room for improvement, and the environmentals that oppose fracking should keep pace with technology so they can keep pressure on companies to always make improvements.