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The Use of Propane as an Alternative to Water for Fracking: Drilling Natural Gas (Research Proposal Sample)


For your final essay of the semester, you will be writing a well-researched proposal argument of your own choosing that either: 1) proposes a solution to a controversial political/social issue/problem related to your home country or 2) on an issue that is related to your major. You may choose between the two options. When thinking of a proposing a solution argument, we are considering the “what” and “how” of a particular issue. When considering a problem and/or issue, what do you think should be done to resolve the issue (the proposal) and how do you think that proposal should be implemented (the solution). Taken from Writing Arguments, a proposal argument is an argument that “is a call to action … In reading a proposal, the audience is enjoined to make a decision and then to act on it—to do something” (Ramage 312). In this essay, you will make a proposal that you feel will help solve a particular problem in connection to the subjects (major or country) above. Then you will think of how to implement that proposal by offering a specific solution. It is important to remember that proposal arguments are found in every discipline as well as the workplace in slightly modified form. Whether you become an engineer, businessperson, or scientist, you will be called upon to formulate proposals, bids, ads, grants and other documents that make an argument. An important part of this essay is to select a topic that is a political issue related to your home country and/or that is an issue related to your major/area of study (similar to your last essay). The reason for this is so that you can select a topic that you are interested in and/or so that you can become more familiar with your particular academic discourse community while framing it within a writing assignment and argumentative scope. Remember, whichever approach you take, you should select secondary sources that are written in English.

Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing is the process of mining natural gas by breaking the shale rocks. Fracking with water is the commonly used technique where water is used to fracture rocks. In the process, a mixture of large amounts of water and explosive charges is used to create a rock-breaking effect that works a long way in gas production. Water has been a commercially tenable method since the end of the Second World War. Fracking is important to the America’s economy since it makes it easy to access ‘unattainable’ natural gases.
Drilling natural gas using water fracking technique does not only come with benefits, the process is associated with a number of challenges that require redress in order in order to come up with alternative methods of accessing the same resources. Some of the most common challenges include CITATION Gor13 \l 2057 (Birgit, Ewers and Frimmel): A lot of water goes into waste during the process; at the same time serious spillages and flow-backs of natural gas have been reported. The leaked gases such as methane gases run into other water channels, and therefore causing side effects since such gases are not environmentally friendly.
Fracking in general has faced serious opposition from different quarters CITATION Sta13 \l 2057 (Melissa and Thompson). Some people argue that fracking using water leads to contamination of ground water, wastage of large quantities of fresh water that could be used for production in other sectors, pollution of both air and water through noise and emission of gases, and health effects to the communities that reside around the drilling places. Indeed, countries like France have administered bans on water fracking due to the risks that accompany it CITATION Meh15 \l 2057 (Neha and O’Sullivan). The United States has put stringent rules to guide the process of fracking CITATION Las14 \l 2057 (Dowell and Miller). The regulatory powers are managed at the State level, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is endowed with the responsibility to issue waste disposal and drilling permits to Companies that deal with the extraction of natural gas and oil.
The problems posed by fracking affects everyone in the society. The governmental agencies have the responsibility to ensure that citizens live in an environment that is free from pollution and other environmental hazards. Any strategy meant to help curb these challenges should always be aimed at developing a plan that considers the environmental wellbeing of the people. In this respect, such plans should take a keen look at how the most affected (plants, animals and people) can be protected from the adverse effects of cracking CITATION Reb15 \l 2057 (Rodriguez and Soeder).
Solutions to problems associated with fracking have not been fully exploited, and the reasons as follows: Firstly, the technical problems associated with the water are very difficult to manage CITATION Gor13 \l 2057 (Birgit, Ewers and Frimmel). Some reported cases reveals that cement casing of the drilling pipes have failed in most cases leading to the unwanted spillages. In fact, around 5% of the total number of oil and gas wells around the world do have this problem. This in itself is a challenge since making corrections to such wells (which are erected underground) once fracking processes have been initiated is not very easy. The research that was carried out in the USA by the Duke University have revealed that about 40% of the water fracking wells have experienced either short term, medium term or long-term spillages that go un-noticed sometimes.
Secondly, economic benefits of water fracking seems to outweigh its negative impacts to the companies that carryout the process of fracking CITATION For15 \l 2057 (Foram, Chavan and Chhatre). It is a common knowledge that every country in the World needs oil and gas for economic prosperity. This has posed a major challenge in addressing the problems of fracking. Drilling companies tend to lean more towards the commercial benefits of their activities rather than taking measures to carry out proper disposal wastes. Failure to address proper disposal procedures by such companies leaves the government as the only disposal regulatory agency. Since the cost of regulation is also very enormous, government agencies may not find it very easy to ensure that every sector relying on the products of cracking does the right thing in terms of waste management.
Thirdly, according to CITATION Art14 \l 2057 (Michael and Cole) the problems of fracking using water have not been solved because the reported cases of contamination lacks proper documentation. Contamination of underground waters is an example of a reported case that requires a very serious examination for appropriate measures to be taken CITATION Gor13 \l 2057 (Birgit, Ewers and Frimmel). The proper of filing such cases is lack of proper legal procedures to address the issues. The underground water exists everywhere within the underground water table. It would very difficult to know which drilling company has not carried out its procedures in the right manner. In order to address the problems of contamination effectively, it would be a requirement that the regulation agencies like EPA puts proper measures by even employing technology to monitor what takes places within the underground drilling wells.
Fourthly, once the policies have been formulated, many people make an assumption that best regulations around the world influence proper implementation of such policies. Fracking has been in existence for over 60 years and therefore people tend to believe that if they have been able to cope up with the challenges that are associated with it, then they would even continue to survive with them CITATION Gor13 \l 2057 (Birgit, Ewers and Frimmel). What is important to note is that the problems of fracking are both short-term, medium term and long-term and therefore nothing should be taken for granted.
Failure to address fracking problems has negative consequences. One of the most common global challenges is climate change CITATION Las14 \l 2057 (Dowell and Miller). Due to poor understanding of shale rock fracking, and little regulatory measures, it is not very easy to establish the exact amount of air pollution that results from fracking across the country CITATION Reb15 \l 2057 (Rodriguez and Soeder). The most disturbing aspect of fracking is the effects of the climate change. Global warming is already a concern everywhere in the world.
Climate change is majorly as a result of emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It is quite unfortunate that methane which is also one of the natural gases drilled is also a potent greenhouse gas, just like carbon (IV) oxide. The gas brings about climate change, hence global warming; the amount of methane gas that goes into the atmosphere from fracking has not been established, but other studies have showed that its contribution towards climate change could be more adverse than that of burning charcoal CITATION For15 \l 2057 (Foram, Chavan and Chhatre).
The other negative impact of failure to solve problems of fracking with water is earthquakes. As the use of water fracking increases since early 1990’s, EPA has appreciated the fact that cases of earthquakes have also increased to almost a proportionate level CITATION Meh15 \l 2057 (Neha and O’Sullivan). Between 1967 to around 2000, only an approximate number of 21 cases of earthquakes were reported every, this is incomparable to 300 cases reported from 2010 when the number of tracking wells constructed every year rose significantly CITATION Art14 \l 2057 (Michael and Cole). Studies CITATION Las14 \l 2057 (Dowell and Miller) have showed that the increased number of earthquakes is as a result of injection wells which are meant for disposal of water that has been contaminated.
Apart from the earthquakes and climate change which are basically environmental, failure to address the problems of fracking pose very serious health problems CITATION For15 \l 2057 (Foram, Chavan and Chhatre). Cancer and birth defects are some of the consequences. Some of the chemicals used to form a gel in fracking using water are actually dangerous and can be radio-active at times. Those who work in such firms get exposed to harmful gases and chemicals. The consequences may be long-term in such a way that, the effects are only realized on the children of such people. One of the most significant effect is birth defects on the children. It cannot go without mentioning that fracking has led to unconditional migrations due to infringements in order to set up the drilling wells. People end up losing their lands CITATION Art14 \l 2057 (Michael and Cole), leading to homelessness, while others are given very little compensations that are not even enough to enable them acquire new residential homes.
Literature Review
The research carried out by the Duke University in 2013 revealed the adverse effects of fracking using water on the domestic drinking water CITATION Sta13 \l 2057 (Melissa and Thompson). A study on the natural gas wells around the North Eastern parts of the US showed a strong correlation between the well’s proximity and the domestic water contamination. Ethane concentration was over 20 times higher in water in areas that were situated less than a kilometer away from the drilling wells, while propane could also be detected.
From the study, the conclusion was that the levels of contamination detected were not as a result of gases that naturally occur in the atmosphere, but as a result of underground drilling of shale gas wells CITATION Meh15 \l 2057 (Neha and O’Sullivan). The most interesting result of the study was that the gases could ...
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