In my mind, Florida has always been the jewel of the continental United States. It’s abundantly clear, however, that climate change is presenting some rather difficult challenges, and will present more and greater challenges.
(Have you been distracted by the industry of climate change denial? Please take a look at this article. It includes a pie chart with only a few crumbs).
Hydraulic fracturing will exacerbate those challenges by 1) adding carcinogenic pollutants to Florida’s water; 2) polluting the air with deadly chemicals; 3) contributing to dangerous climate change; and 4) forestall investment in clean energy alternatives from which Florida is uniquely positioned to benefit.
The oil and gas industry has presented a picture of safety that simply does not exist. Well casings fail. Pieces don’t fit or they break. Spills occur. Carcinogenic racking chemicals and chemicals associated with methane, etc. do get into groundwater where hydraulic fracturing is taking place.
Hydraulic fracturing will contribute toward heating of the planet. That, in turn, will tend to increase risk of disasters such as accidental release of contaminants via storms and flooding.
Beyond the destruction of southeast Florida’s Atlantic beaches through erosion, southeast Florida seems increasingly likely to be battered by violent storms as global temperatures rise. The high volumes of water associated with hydraulic fracturing are likely to present direct environmental and human health threats as they contaminate Florida’s water, air and land.
Breaking up bedrock allows fluids to move beyond target gas harvest areas. The instability of porous limestone is apparent in the destruction of property via sink holes. Pressurizing areas underground seems, at the least, to be inviting disaster in Florida’s case. By the way, here’s an interesting note: Yep, creatures live in underground pools of water associated with limestone. Like in Florida.
Even without the danger of spills, the destruction and destabilization of bedrock, etc., there is substantial evidence that, in practice, hydraulic fracturing releases high levels of methane into the air.
This in itself is murderous. The World Health Organization has determined that millions of people die every year from air pollution.
Some people would argue that “going along” with the program — is patriotic. After all, part of an “all of the above” energy production program being administered by the Obama administration.
It could have been “patriotic” – if the fuels (natural gas, liquid petroleum, coal) the United States is producing were actually owned by the people of the United States of America … if there were state-owned oil and gas companies. The fuels, however, are being extracted, refined, and sold by private companies, in some cases, multinational companies. Shareholders, and the people who benefit from the buying and selling of shares, etc., are the beneficiaries.
In fact … the idea of “U.S. energy self sufficiency” is a canard. Fuels are bought and sold on a GLOBAL market. Indeed, the push to EXPORT American fuels from the new shale oil/gas bounty has been well noted cnn, etc.).
Most significantly, the United States Energy Information Administration has illustrated a very significant foreign investment (China in particular) in U.S. shale gas ventures
And here’s some specifics from the same agency information as reported by the Motley Fool investment research folks.
Without sounding unduly crass, let me put it to you this way: Do you think investors in China cares whether Florida’s death rate due to cancer rises slightly because of hydraulic fracturing, a spill, etc., especially when such a connection cannot be easily be traced? Do you think they care whether another species that is part of a food chain in a specific locale, like the fairy shrimp, disappears? Or that fewer egrets gather in estuaries overwhelmed with toxic chemicals? Do you think they care whether rising sea levels claim a particular stretch of Beach somewhere on Florida’s Atlantic Coast? That the Florida panther goes extinct?
Now … is the gas and oil “American” simply because it was extracted in the U.S.A.? Or is it Chinese, or at least part Chinese? You see … it doesn’t really matter where the gas/oil was extracted because it was probably done so by a multinational company and is going into a global market, quite possibly to be exported.
What matters is that we don’t destroy the state of Florida – the fourth most populous state in the Union – and hasten the demise of the United States and the world in order to line the pockets of international gas & oil investors.
Again, not to sound crass, but drilling for gas and oil at least SEEMED to make more sense in the desert than it would in the vulnerable Everglades, with all of its biodiversity, etc.
Florida has enough problems with rising sea level, with hurricanes, with porous limestone giving way in sinkhole formation, without injecting carcinogenic chemicals into the ground, destroying bedrock, creating very voluminous pools of toxic waste, accelerating adverse climate change and spewing deadly chemicals into the air. It’s clear that Florida must reject hydraulic fracturing and embrace renewable energy.