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There are reasons for hydrofracking -- but are they good reasons?

We have written several posts on this blog informing Louisiana readers about the dangers of hydrofracking -- how it can contaminate land in ways the landowner never dreamed, how it can leave landowners holding the bill for necessary clean-up and even how it may be leading to earthquakes in Ohio.

So, a natural question that might arise is: why do oil and gas companies even engage in hydrofracking (or just "fracking") in the first place?

To put it simply, our country is thirsty for energy. The U.S. consumes more energy per capita than any country in the world, and that energy needs to come from somewhere. We have been growing increasingly restless about our dependence on foreign oil (that's why we are worried that Iran will cause problems in the Strait of Hormuz, an important oil-shipping route). So, we have turned to other sources, like the domestic deposits of oil and gas buried deep underground that must be freed by the high-pressure injection of water and chemicals.

To illustrate just how much we have embraced this new extraction method, the worldwide market for hydraulic fracturing is poised to swell 19 percent this year and net up to $37 billion in revenues. Most of that will be in North America, where 87 percent of fracking activity occurs.

Now, weaning ourselves off of foreign natural resources is something we would all like to do, but at what cost? Are we as a country going to trod on landowners' rights this way in the name of cheap fuel? It would be great if we can figure out some other means of getting energy soon, but in the meantime, landowners should know that they do have rights and that there are attorneys who are experienced in this area of law who can help make sure those rights get observed.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Fracking Market to Grow 19% to $37 billion Worldwide in 2012," Joe Carroll, Jan. 19, 2012

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