Well last time I got downvoted to oblivion because some users don't understand discussion, in particular from industry sources. Let alone the scientific method of the power of hearing or thinking beyond ones own opinions.
So fracking. From my experience in the UK oil market (still have my job despite massive cuts so what does that say?) is controversial because of two things:
So what is Fracking? Ask every guy on the street and he will tell you the same story: pumping water and chemicals at high pressure to crack rocks containing gas reservoirs to allow gas to escape. Problems with this? Large fractures with water which lead to earthquakes, misery and pollution of ground water...Wrong.
What is it really?
Testing the play. Evaluating. the suitability and economic benefit of a play (shale rock play). Taking the data and testing (e.g. Cuadrilla in Balcome, UK) to see if the source rock is suitable for fracking. Hydraulic fracturing may not occur but media will always invest time and effort and fiction into it because it generates discussion and argument. Would you employ an accountant to perform heart surgery? No. So why a journalist to do Geology?
So the basics of On-shore "Fracking":
In a nut shell,wells are drilled to the target strata. The high risk areas of the drilling site are protected with concrete well casings, appropriate for 15-16 years at the moment. These high risk areas correspond to the areas determined by borehole and core analysis to be areas where for example there may be a particularly permeable rock, the water table, the best understanding of local bedrock and superficial geology in the world etc. These areas are then ensured to be protected (in the UK at least).
The preparation is there ( I can only say from a UK perspective as that is where I have experience I am not vouching for other countries). This preparation and understanding of the geology, hydrogeology and engineering leads to a huge amount of understanding of the effects and processes beyond your standard Joe Bloggs. People dont understand and why would they? From this, professionals develop ways to safely extract gas from deep target rocks.
These rocks are A) Only targeted if they are economically viable and the extraction process is safe.Take photos leave footprints. These rocks are often miles from the water table. The water table is so shallow compared to the target rocks. How do we protect the water table? Borehole casings, we have been doing it for years. With the right legislation we can ensure quality production of boreholes to European standards. These casings are good for at least 15 years if not more (concrete is actually rather good, source 3 years in the civil engineering industry [fed up with people asking for my qualifications and experience]).If anything the more funding allows for better concrete, higher density, better pore coverage etc. This legislation mitigates the risk of leakage, it will happen no doubt but that is the law of averages, there is always some permeability,
Chemicals,people are so worried about chemicals, 90% of them are idiots. Did you know that O2 is one of the biggest causes of cancer in its free radical state caused by UV light from the sun? Who cares. The "chemicals" in fracking are largely lubricant, ph adjustment and biocides. all of which are useful.
Earthquakes. If you honestly think Hydraulic Fracturing causes significant earthquakes compared to other resource extraction processes take yourself out of geology. End of.
No shes not a knowledgeable hooker. You want to know why the general public are so ignorant to fracking, just look at the data they are given:
Look at the appalling scales. If you weren't a geologist with an understanding of true scale how would you view this?
Its unbelievable that people look at these "diagrams" and don't query.
My previous point is that the general perception outside of resource geology is based on miss information. I have been insulted by self proclaimed self obsessed troglodytes on this sub and that is so so so typical of the standard miss informed member of public. I dont blame them, I blame the companies (for which I work for) for not being proactive and teaching people about the nature of the prospect.
Its no wonder that people get on there high horse about fracking, there inclined to as they don't know any better. It's easy to take the media's opinion as it is in your face and it takes balls and brainpower to look into the ecomnomic and social benefits of the process in both the short and long term.
Geology isn't about the knowing, its about the future of others as well.
Source (as its been questioned before) Masters, 3 years in engineering, several years in oil.
Just a reminder to those die hard environmentalists: Protesting gets you nowhere. Being part of the industry and implementing change from within is the best and most effective way to do what's best.