America’s new-found fossil fuels

Over the last couple of years, it seems we’re “finding” all sorts of new oil and natural gas fields in the United States.  But if you thought all this newly-discovered oil and gas is really new, think again.  In a lot of cases, these fields hold fossil fuels that were too expensive to extract in the past.  When the price of oil rises, some of these expensive resources become viable.

See Gasland: The Movie for more information

See Gasland: The Movie for more information (Photo credit: ltmayers)

“Fracking” is one of the techniques used to harvest some of these fuels, and a glimpse into the methods used in fracking helps illustrate these costs.  In a recent article (Hundreds of tons of chemicals needed to frack wells), Columbus Business First documents some of the materials needed to make these wells productive.  According to the article, one of the wells studied consumed “more than 484 tons of chemical additives, 10.5 million gallons of water, and 5,066 tons of sand to be fracked.”

Although America’s energy independence is vital to our economic sustainability, we cannot forget to account for the direct costs of all these chemicals and processing costs, but also the indirect and unknown costs should these chemicals prove to cause environmental problems in the future.  There’s no free lunch, and no more cheap oil anymore, either.

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