Fracking is a relatively new way of producing natural gas – in the short time it has been implemented, fracking has been linked to many health and environmental problems. The process uses toxic chemicals, threatens drinking water, triggers earthquakes, contributes to global warming, and damages habitat. Wastewater from fracking contains potentially toxic chemicals. Underground water supplies are becoming contaminated from fracking, through migration of gas and frack fluid underground.
What the Frack?
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a drilling technique used for extracting oil or natural gas from deep underground. In order to hydraulically fracture rock and extract the hydrocarbons, large quantities of water and chemicals must be injected underground posing a threat to local water resources. During the fracking process, water is mixed with various chemicals to make a toxic brew called frack fluid. The federal government doesn’t require drilling companies to disclose the ingredients used in fracking fluids, and of the states that allow fracking, only three have mandated companies release this information.
Facts on Fracking:
- Fracked wells across the U.S. between 2005 and 2015 used at least: 5 billion pounds of hydrochloric acid, 1.2 billion pounds of petroleum distillates, which can include toxic and cancer-causing agents, and 445 million pounds of methanol.
- 14 leading fracking companies used 780 million gallons of 750 different chemicals.
- EPA estimated that 70 to 140 billion gallons of water were used to fracture just 35,000 wells in the United States.
- In the Marcellus Shale region, the most expansive shale play in the United States, 2 to 10 million gallons of water are needed every time a well is fractured.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate fracking fluids even when they enter our water supply because in 2005, fracking was given an exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act by then Vice-President Dick Cheney.
- There are already more than 1,000 documented cases of water contamination from fracking.
- A Duke study examining 60 sites in New York and Pennsylvania found systematic evidence for methane contamination in household drinking water.
- Researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health released a study showing that air pollution caused by fracking could contribute to immediate and long-term health problems for people living near fracking sites.
How can I make an impact:
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Reduce your energy consumption. Simply stated, the less natural gas energy you consume, the less that needs to be extracted from our planet.
Action 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1
- Call on Congress to close the loopholes that exempt fracking from key provisions of our nation’s environmental laws.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Action 1 & 2
- Organize a local effort to stop fracking. If you are in a state that has fracking production, first create awareness in your community regarding the detriments of fracking, and join in protesting efforts in your region.