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The Dangers of Fracking: Why Fracking Should be Banned
WHAT IS FRACKING?
Fracking (“hydraulic fracturing”) is the process by which natural gas and oil is extracted from land using vertical and horizontal wells that are drilled underground and pumped full of a liquid mixture of water, sand and chemicals at a high pressure. This fracking liquid mixture forces rock formations thousands of feet below ground to break apart and release oil and gas deposits that were previously trapped and can be used as fossil fuels.
THE EXPLOSION OF FRACKING IN THE US
Over 200,000 new fracking wells have sprung up in the US in the last decade due to new drilling technologies that have lead to largescale natural gas drilling. Long-term
consequences of using the dangerous chemicals that make this process possible are uncertain, but the many threats to our health and safety are known.
THE EFFECTS OF FRACKING
- Water pollution from seepage of toxic chemicals into aquifers and farmland due to well casing failures and improper disposal of waste water
- Depletion of water sources (fracking requires millions of gallons of water)
- Air pollution from the greenhouse gas methane (a fracking by-product) which contributes to climate change
- Air pollution from increased traffic and transportation of fracking liquid
- Increase of earthquakes near fracking injection sites
- Health hazards to humans and livestock from fracking chemicals that are known
- Air pollution from flaring (burning off harmful gases at fracking sites)
EXAMPLES OF THE DANGERS OF FRACKING
- In Pavillion, Wyoming, the US Geological Survey discovered chemicals in the town’s aquifer that are consistent with chemicals used in the fracking process
- In 2013, several families in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania had to be evacuated when 200,000 gallons of fracking waste fluid were spilled due to a
- natural gas drilling rig blowout
- In 2012, a fracking gas well in Bolivar, Ohio exploded, causing the death of a 19- year old gas worker
- A Colorado School of Public Health study found that air near fracking wells contained toxic hydrocarbons used in the fracking process such as the carcinogen
- benzene, xylene, ethylbenzene and toluene
- The U.S. Geological Survey has linked a tripling of earthquakes greater than 3.0 in
- the Midwest to wastewater wells from fracking
SECRECY, FRACKING AND YOUR HEALTH
Oil and gas companies are currently not required to disclose the chemicals they use to frack because they are considered “trade secrets”. This makes it nearly impossible to determine the extent of contamination resulting from these processes, and private settlements have assured the silence of people whose health has been directly affected. In addition, fracking companies are exempt from key federal legislation like the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act. Fracking is inherently dangerous and cannot be done safely. The lack of fracking regulation helps oil companies avoid taking responsibility for their actions, but it’s the fracking process itself that threatens our resources, our health, and the health of our planet.
> Stay informed about state and national policy on fracking
> Tell the White House, your congressperson and your senator to support a ban on fracking and accelerate our transition to clean energy
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