US to become ‘net energy exporter’

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“Environmentalists and some analysts, however, caution that jubilant predictions from a country that consumes some 25 percent of the world’s oil will run into environmental constraints including global warming and a lack of fresh water.

“There is no question that fresh water is going to be a serious concern… the water crisis will be the next big crisis people will have to confront everywhere in the world in the next few decades,” Pierce, the energy lawyer and professor, said. “Limits on fresh water, to a certain extent, will be the determining limit on fracking capability… how serious a limit is hard to say.”

Extracting gas from one well through fracking takes about five million gallons of water, the equivalent of between 800 and 1,300 truckloads, said energy consultant Faeth. Over its lifespan, an average well produces more than 4 billion cubic feet of gas equivilent – enough energy to power about 16,000,000 homes for one day. Mixed with chemicals, much of the water ends up contaminated after being used in the fracking process. One well will often need to be fracked up to 18 times, drastically increasing water contamination.”

“The industry is not that transparent; we don’t know exactly how much water is being used in different places,” Lorne Stockman, research director of advocacy group Oil Change International, told Al Jazeera. “Public discomfort with the fracking boom is growing, especially in states like Ohio… I can’t say if it will come to a head.”

Read more: Aljazeera

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