Will Fracking Drive Up the Cost of Dairy?
Fracturing for gas deep beneath the earth’s surface is somewhat of an anomaly. Right now It is becoming the talk of the nation because of its low prices and sheer abundance. There are also distinct environmental advantages to utilizing natural gas when compared to coal production, such as lower CO2 emissions and less toxic fine particulate matter wafting through the air. However these types of benefits come at a cost, and one industry deemed to suffer these costs is the dairy industry.
Fracking may seem like the obvious choice over coal because it burns cleaner. But there is an unfortunate trade-off that many are saying isn’t worth it. Groundwater contamination is one of them and this has been effecting communities near fracking sites for years. The chemically laden water isn’t just having ill effects on people but it also is affecting livestock. Livestock deaths have occurred in states like Louisiana and Pennsylvania- major fracking areas- as a direct result of hydraulic fracturing.
These incidents have been attributed to leaks in wastewater and poor operations which clearly highlight the lack of safeguards in the industry. A Penn State University study has shown that failing daiy products are to blame for recent natural gas developments. Several possible factors were linked to these findings one being a 19% decrease in dairy cows when drilling activity was present during the years 2007-2010 compared to other areas where there was no fracking. There was also an 18.5% drop in milk production during that time.
The consequences of drilling for gas is now cascading into economic issues. Low milk production and livestock deaths can put a hindrance on dairy farmers that depend on high yields for a paycheck. In turn it could start affecting consumers by making local dairy products less available therefore driving up costs. In addition, fracking takes an inate amount of water to suffice one job and thus will be competing with agriculture perhaps tightening the pressure on water demands.
On the surface these impacts seem minute, and they undoubetedly are when compared to the other dangerous implications fracking presents such as increased traffic, noise pollution, degredation of land, and health complaints.
“When you shatter the bedrock, it’s not only full of methane, it’s full of benzene, it’s full of tylulene, its full of a lot of poisonous hydrocarbons. You blow that up and you put cocktail straws down into the ground to try to get the methane up, you create portals of contamination for other chemicals to come up into our ground water, aquifers and into air,” environmental scientist Sandra Steingraber said.
Shale gas drlling has become so popular in the media because what once was a pretty stagnant industry has being revitalized thanks to advancements in technology. These improvements have unlocked billions of dollars in gas reserves which has led to a boom in production, jobs, and profits. But with the pros comes the cons and they aren’t anything to sneeze at. Public health and pollution are two areas that are being sacrificed for big profits and economy boosting jobs. The question still remains to those in office and the public at large, do the pros outweigh the cons?
Reasons to JOIN US include:
- It's absolutely FREE!
- Get Green Tips You MUST know about.
- How to's on going green, saving money, and having fun.
- Keep up-to-date on our posts in cased you missed them.