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Brooke Auten

Professor Malcolm Campbell


English 1103
21, Feb. 2016
Topic Proposal: What the Frack Should We Do on Fracking
Introduction/Overview
For this project, I will examine potential risk fracking may have on the environment and on
public health. I will also address current debates involving the use of fracking. Fracking is slang
for hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process used to access natural
gasses and oil. Fracking involves drilling far beneath Earths surface in order to open up tight
rock formations that contain gas and oil. Water, sand, and chemical mixtures are injected at high
pressures through pipes that crack open and release gasses and oil from the rock, usually shale
rock (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
Fracking was first discovered by Lt. Col. Edward A. Roberts, a Civil War veteran, during
the mid 1860s. In the oil fields of Titusville, Pennsylvania, Roberts lowered explosions deep
into bore holes and cracked the rock formation by using water, resulting in the discovery of
fracking. This new process spread throughout the Appalachian oil producing region, making
fracking the talk of the oil producing world. The demand for non explosive fracking alternatives
was high during the 1930s, and by 1949 fracking was used commercially (Society of
PetroleumPr Engineers).
Today, 8 million gallons of water and 40 thousand gallons of chemicals is used per fracture
(dangers of fracking.com). This causes a concern for environmentalist and for water deficient
regions. Scientist are concerned about the toxins within the chemicals and the impact the toxins

create when leaked into the ground water. Non fracking activist argue that drinking water near
fracturing cites contains toxins that the public is unaware of (Dangers Of Fracking.com). Other
environmental issues such as VOCs being released into the atmosphere and earth quakes are
major concerns of environmentalist and other people who are concerned for the environment.
However, industry leaders are focusing on the benefits of fracking and claiming that no
environmental harm is being done. The people highlight the importance of natural gasses being
able to be used, the dip in gas prices, boost in the economy, and the stability of having gas for
another 100 years (BBC News). There is an obvious struggle of scientist arguing against
fracking, and industry leaders who are persuading the public that fracking is something worth
celebrating and being thankful for.
Preliminary research for this topic started off as a quick review of the definition of fracking
on Merriam-Webster Dictionary. I then began to resarch the history of fracking where I found my
information on ASMe.com and shortly after came across websites such as
DangerofFracking.com. I then used BBC News to gain information on the benefits of fracking.

Initial Inquiry Question(s)


Does the process of fracking create a threat to the environment? Do all states allow
fracking? What possible consequences could future generations face due to fracking? What are
other countries policies on fracking? What laws are put forth in the U.S towards fracking?

My Interest in this Topic

My interest in the environment sparked in my 11th grade Earth and Environmental


Science class. The class opened my eyes and abled me to be aware of the things going on in the
environment, consequences the earth and humans will have to face due to how we are living, etc.
The class opened me up to new perspectives; ones other than the opinion of two conservative
parents and Fox News. I chose to research possible risks of fracking and what it may have on the
environment because, although it may not seem like it, the actions taking place today, will have
an effect on my generation. I think it is important that my generation be curious and aware of
what the future of our environment looks like.
I already know that fracking benefits the economy and is an important role in the
American oil production. I know that fracking is a more efficient way of getting gas and that it
allows us to use natural gas instead of burning coal. I would like to know, however, the risks of
drinking water contaminated by the chemicals involved in the fracking process and what the
future will look like for the environment if fracking continues for 10, 15, 20+ years.

Next Steps
My next steps will include researching the websites of EPA, U.S Department of Energy,
and Occupational Safety and Health Administrator in order to gain information on their policies
and viewpoints on fracking. I plan to visit a variety of diverse websites that both support, and do
not support, fracking so that I can have a balanced idea of fracking and, based on my own
readings and understandings, come up with my own perspective. I will collect information from
news articles such as the Huffington Post, New York Times, and American Thinker. I am also
planning to find documentaries on fracking that I was shown in high school.