Actual Grit

The window to the world

Rick Perry takes on fracking myths

In an townhall type meeting with what appears to be an anti-fracking crowd, Governor Perry held firm to the notion that fracking is not a harmful practice.

So what is fracking? Oil is not found in vast pools beneath the surface like many people think; it’s found in solid rock. In order for rock to yield economically produceable oil it must have two qualities: porosity and permeability. Shale contains an abundance of oil, but it’s not permeable, which means the oil and natural gas cannot easily flow through the rock for extraction. To extract oil and natural gas from shale, a well is drilled into a shale formation. Rather than drilling straight down, the well kicks off sideways. Once the well is drilled, a high pressure pump is used to break the rock (this is where ‘fracking’ gets its name, to fracture the rocks is colloquially, ‘fracking’). The gaps in the rock created by the pressure allow the oil and gas to escape into the well bore.

The controversy surrounding fracking centers around fracking fluid. While 99.5% of fracking fluid is nothing more than water and sand, the remaining .5% is a chemical mix. And of course the environmentalists hone in on the .5%. They maintain that this evil .5% of chemical substance seeps into the water table, poisoning us all. Never mind the fact that steel surface casing surrounds the top portion of the well in order to protect the water table, or the fact that fracking fluid is apparently potable, as a Haliburton executive recently illustrated. The left is skilled in creating hysteria over a non-issue and the hype surrounding fracking is just that.

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