In this paper, I will argue that the big oil and gas corporations’ actions are evil when it comes to fracking. Evil is the intentional, unnecessary harm to innocent beings. Fracking is a term used to describe hydraulic fracturing. It’s a process where millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand are forced vertically and then horizontally deep into layers of shale underneath the earth’s surface. This forces the shale to crack allowing natural gas to flow up into the wells. With fracking we are facing one of the most extreme anti-environmental agendas we have seen in generations (wilderness.org). Big oil and gas are waging a massive ad campaign across the airways attempting to quill the public into complacency. The organization “Food and Water Watch” has launched a national petition to remove these ads from all major networks (food and water watch.org). Another illustration that Big oil and gas are intent in doing harm is the fact that they spend millions lobbying congress to soften regulations or deregulate their practices altogether.
Drilling for oil has taken place for decades across the U.S. However, new, more risky and destructive technology is being used to extract fossil fuels…fracking. “Despite gas and oil corporation’s propaganda, there is ample evidence of disasters in every state in the U.S. and Canada where fracking operations exist” (Athensnews.com). It is taking over some of our precious national forests and wilderness areas and threatening the habitats of our wildlife. Fracking practices are polluting our air, food and water. Millions upon millions of gallons of chemically laden water lay in open reservoirs. 93 percent of the chemicals identified are dangerous: 25 percent are known carcinogens’, 37 percent are endocrine disrupters, and 52 percent are neurotoxins’ (Athensnews.com).
This situation is important to me and should be to everyone. Big oil and gas companies are reporting huge profits and are collecting millions of dollars from government subsidies. They have “been given a free pass from complying with basic environmental laws” (Earth justice p19). The practice of fracking is destroying our infrastructure, polluting our air, water and food supplies and generously contributing to climate change. We should not be complacent.
As is with every controversy, there is another side to fracking. There are benefits. Before the discovery of the Marcellus shale in West Virginia, natural gas cost was 13 dollars per unit. It now sells for as low as 4 dollars per unit (Journal news .com). This is a huge savings for energy consumers. Fracking has provided jobs; however these jobs are usually short term or transient. It has increased customers for local business. The greatest benefit of natural gas production is the reduction of mountain top removal for the extraction of coal. (Mountain top removal may well be the most destructive form of energy production in the U.S.). Fracking has resulted in closing many archaic and filthy coal burning plants. Coal emissions are the single biggest cause of climate change (Earth justice).
The morality of an action is determined by the consequences of that action and according to the Utilitarian theory, “the only non-arbitrary moral boundary is one that includes all of humanity” (Barcelow p. 83). The consequences of fracking increase the well-being of some. It creates less expensive and cleaner energy for consumers. Fracking provides a few jobs. However, the greatest good is enjoyed by Big oil and gas. Where the majority sees open farmlands, national forests and public parks, the oil and gas companies see dollars signs. “Billions and billions [of dollars] in profit for them and destroyed land, polluted water and dangerous air for us” (food and water watch .org). Short term or transient jobs | +1 | Loss of property values | -1 | Increased customers for local businesses | +1 | Loss of county property tax revenues | -1…