Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know

Overview


Constantly in the news and the subject of much public debate, fracking, as it is known for short, is one of the most promising yet controversial methods of extracting natural gas and oil. Today, 90 percent of natural gas wells use fracking. Though highly effective, the process-which fractures rock with pressurized fluid-has been criticized for polluting land, air, and water, and endangering human health.

A timely addition to Oxford's What Everyone Needs to Know® series, ...

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Overview


Constantly in the news and the subject of much public debate, fracking, as it is known for short, is one of the most promising yet controversial methods of extracting natural gas and oil. Today, 90 percent of natural gas wells use fracking. Though highly effective, the process-which fractures rock with pressurized fluid-has been criticized for polluting land, air, and water, and endangering human health.

A timely addition to Oxford's What Everyone Needs to Know® series, Hydrofracking tackles this contentious topic, exploring both sides of the debate and providing a clear guide to the science underlying the technique. In concise question-and-answer format, Alex Prud'homme cuts through the maze of opinions and rhetoric to uncover key points, from the economic and political benefits of fracking to the health dangers and negative effects on the environment. Prud'homme offers clear answers to a range of fundamental questions, including: What is fracking fluid? How does it impact water supplies? Who regulates the industry? How much recoverable natural gas exists in the U.S.? What new innovations are on the horizon? Supporters as diverse as President Obama and the conservative billionaire T. Boone Pickens have promoted natural gas as a clean, "21st-century" fuel that will reduce global warming, create jobs, and provide tax revenues, but concerns remain, with environmental activists like Bill McKibben and others leading protests to put an end to fracking as a means of obtaining alternative energy. Prud'homme considers ways to improve methods in the short-term, while also exploring the possibility of transitioning to more sustainable resources-wind, solar, tidal, and perhaps nuclear power-for the long term.

Written for general readers, Hydrofracking clearly explains both the complex science of fracking and the equally complex political and economic issues that surround it, giving readers all the information they need to understand what will no doubt remain a contentious issue for years to come.

What Everyone Needs to Know® is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
11/15/2013
Drilling with hydraulic fracturing, known as hydrofracking or fracking, to extract oil and natural gas has become a contentious issue. Journalist Prud'homme (The Ripple Effect) seeks to clarify the situation. He points out that the technique is transforming energy use in North America. While conventional petroleum reserves are declining, shale formations are sites of a potential new gas bonanza. Coal-fired electric power plants are being replaced with cleaner gas plants. North American industry is more globally competitive as gas feedstocks become cheaper. If priced correctly, such abundant natural gas could become a "bridge fuel" to a renewable energy economy. Prud'homme expects that stricter EPA standards and technical improvements by energy corporations will make the process more acceptable; at the moment, he explains, the hydrofracking process consumes vast amounts of water, and the recycling or disposal of the wastewater is problematic. Because of the unknown composition of proprietary chemicals used, the monitoring and treating of groundwater near drill sites is hampered, and human and animal health may be affected. VERDICT This overview of hydrofracking and the bitter conflicts it causes will especially interest residents of states and provinces with shale oil and the potential for gas production.—David R. Conn, formerly with Surrey Libs., BC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199311262
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/9/2013
  • Series: What Everyone Needs to Know Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,412,733
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Alex Prud'homme has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Time. He is the author of five books, including The Ripple Effect: the Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century, and the co-writer of Julia Child's bestselling memoir, My Life in France.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
I. Energy in the 21st Century
II. Fracking Basics
III. Fracking Today
IV. Fracking Pros and Cons
V. Fracking Tomorrow
Conclusion

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