Dennis Freytes: Safe fracking — good for America - Florida Politics

Dennis Freytes: Safe fracking — good for America

Many veterans of war, including myself, have concerns with foreign products being purchased from countries at war, namely the Middle East. We have come a long way in recent years to obtain our own oil and natural gas within the U.S. However, we can’t lift our feet off the proverbial pedal. Our country must use all forms of energy to become energy independent for the good of all. There is a direct correlation between energy reliability on the Middle East affecting matters of national security. Many American veterans agree in order to improve our quality of life at home, it’s imperative we continue safely improving all energy infrastructure on our homeland.

One safe and viable option for domestic oil and natural gas production is through hydraulic fracturing. Contrary to popular belief, this process has been used in the United States for nearly 70 years. It’s not a new technology; the practice has been tested and refined for decades. Another important point to remember is fracking falls under at least eight different federal regulations, not to mention state and local laws.

Fracking serves to enhance the flow of energy from a well. Many people who are nervous about the concept just don’t understand how it works – it’s actually quite simple. First, a hole is drilled vertically to form a well that is thousands of meters underground, and then drilled horizontally into an oil or gas deposit. The hole is cased with a steel pipe cemented into place, which isolates the area of the rock to protect our water supply. Then, a special perforation gun is lowered through the pipe, and forms holes through small, quick charges. Once the holes are formed, fracking fluid is pumped through with pressurized bursts. This creates small cracks throughout the rock so that trapped oil or gas can easily flow through.

The fracking fluid is a mixture of 99.5 percent water and sand, combined with chemical additives which control bacteria growth and prevent corrosion. These chemicals make up less than 1 percent of the fracking fluid and are significantly below the maximum levels required by the Environmental Protection Agency. Any water or fluid that is released through fracking is stored in a safe treatment facility. And once the process is complete – which can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days – a well can produce energy for years, even decades.

Currently, there is inaccurate information circulating the media about fracking’s effect on our drinking water. I want to be clear: there have been no confirmed cases of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing in the 2 million wells fracked since the 1940s. Before fracking even begins, casings are placed into the well, and the space between the casings and the drill hole is filled with cement. This ensures neither the water and sand mixture that is pumped through the well, nor the oil and gas eventually produced, will enter the water supply.

In fact, a 2015 study conducted by Yale University found that fracking fluids do not contaminate aquifers. The researchers also found that contamination to drinking water does not occur because of casing failures, which has been an argument by those opposed to the practice.

Here in the sunshine state, scientists are currently considering using deep injection wells, a form of fracking, to restore Lake Okeechobee and the South Florida Water Management District has stated that this process would not affect Florida’s drinking water supply.

Fracking is one of the ways we can obtain reliable, homegrown energy to power our homes, buildings, phones, cars – you name it.

Oil and natural gas production keep our everyday conveniences — ones that many countries do not have — at our fingertips. Let’s avoid national security risk and ensure progress for our beloved U.S.A. by continuing processes like fracking within our borders and keep things moving, literally.

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Lt. Col. Dennis Freytes, United States Army (Ret.) – Florida Veterans Hall of Fame, is co-chair of Florida Vets4Energy, a group of volunteer veterans who continue to serve America as advocates for energy policies to sustain our national security.

3 Comments

  1. The pro-natural gas fracking letter of Lt. Col. Dennis Freytes is naïve and unfortunate. He claims that “fracking”, a technique to obtain natural gas from deep underground sources, is safe for Florida’s fragile ecosystem. This a great ununderstanding of the fracking process & of Florida.

    This has nothing to do with national security, and I am very grateful for the author’s service to our country. The world has a surplus of petroleum, natural gas, and coal. We do not need these dirty fuels.

    I will not try to refute all of his claims. I have represented for ten years the Florida Medical Association as Chairman of its Environment & Health Section. Florida’s physicians adopted careful guidelines for fracking, including testing of drinking water sources before and after fracking, and disclosure of the names of the chemicals so that they could be tested for. We met with legislators and industry lobbyists year after year to create a regulatory bill that might permit fracking and protect the health of our citizens and the safety of our agriculture products.

    The oil and gas industry refused three years in a row to allow a reasonable bill to regulate fracking ‘s safely. In the 2015 comprehensive report by the EPA, hundreds of known carcinogens and birth defect-inducing chemicals were disclosed as having been used in fracking in other states. The industry here refused to allow Floridians to know what chemicals they would use and refused to allow our towns to test for those chemicals. Without this information, our health will be gravely in danger.

    A total ban on fracking is needed because this industry has proven that it cannot be trusted. Our legislature wisely turned down their industry three years in a row. We have no choice but to protect ourselves by passing a ban on fracking for Florida.

  2. Release all the chemical names, ratios, and reports to the public. Also, what about earthquakes caused by fracking? Fracking is safe for Florida that sits on layers of limestone? Sorry, not sold.

  3. Bill,
    I agree with you. I am not willing to into the hands of oil drillers the the safety of our water and food supplies. Only a ban on these practices can protect us.

    Todd L Sack, MD FACP
    Physicians for Social Responsibility, Florida
    Jacksonville

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