A field full of fracking. (SFU - University Communications / Flickr)
Fracking. You have heard the word before, and Bernie Sanders just announced he plans to ban it, but what does it all mean? Here is your video breakdown.
Wait, what is fracking?
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a controversial process for extracting oil and natural gas from the ground
It's spreading across the US despite there being a lot of concerns about it.
A typical oil well is built straight down and pumps out all of the oil and natural gas that is deep down in the earth. But after continual use, these oil wells can start coming up dry.
So fracking involves angling the drill horizontally into the rock layer and then blasting water at high pressures (this is why its called "hydraulic") to release natural gas.
Still feeling confused? Here are a couple simple videos that will help:
What does Bernie Sanders say about fracking?
Sanders also announced his new plan, and he drilled opponent Hillary Clinton on the issue, in a New York campaign speech. (Remember, she was a New York senator for 8 years, and fracking is banned in the state. And also, the NY primary is next week, on April 19th.)
Here's what he said:
Plus here's a new Sanders commercial, voiced by supporter Susan Sarandon. It says the Sanders campaign is different from others (*cough* Hillary Clinton *cough*) because he's backed not by the oil industry, but by voter contributions.
Why ban fracking?
Here are the main arguments against it.
Fracking leads to earthquakes
The US Geological Survey recently said that the increase in human-made earthquakes puts nearly 7 million Americans in harm's way.
The state of Oklahoma does a lot of fracking, and guess what? They've also seen a significant amount of seismic activity that suggests fracking could be the reason why.
The state is now the second most-active for earthquakes:
Fracking contaminates drinking water
And makes it toxic and flammable.
Some people think fracking creates sinkholes
Why continue to do it?
Where fracking happens in America. (Wikimedia Commons)
There are ways to manage it
Many suggest that when fracking is done properly, things like seismic activity can be managed and the effects can be reduced.
Some processes incorporated into fracking can help to address some of the major environmental concerns that anti-fracking activists have brought up. Water recycling--using waste water to pump instead of fresh drinking water--and creating proper wells to avoid contaminating the local groundwater are two major ways that fracking can be done safer and more efficiently.
Fracking is good for the economy and creates jobs
Fracking is spreading for one major reason: because it's good for the economy and has created jobs. After all, there is a huge demand for energy.
Currently, the industry supports 2.1 million jobs, and multiple state governors have said that fracking has helped boost their local economies.
What have the other presidential candidates said about it?
During a Democratic debate earlier in March, both Clinton and Sanders were asked what they thought about fracking, and here's what they said:
But this is video of Clinton laughing at an activist's question that has since gone viral.
Republican candidates discussed fracking in a debate last October:
Donald Trump's claims that John Kasich and Ohio were only doing well because of fracking aren't exactly true. (Kasich is the governor of Ohio.)
Ohio is a longtime big oil producer, and while the state did turn to hydraulic fracturing in 2010, the decision wasn't as profitable in Ohio as expected because of a slump in the oil prices and low production.
This video will help to break down the political debate a bit more:
What do you think? Should we keep fracking away--or is it too dangerous not to ban?
This article was written by Allison Hollender and originally appeared on Kicker. Kicker explains the most important, compelling things going on in the world and empowers you to get in the know, make up your own mind, and take action. For more, check out the Kicker site, like their Facebook page, or subscribe to their email newsletter.