Fracking takes a huge toll on affected communities, generates massive volumes of toxic waste, creates hazardous air pollution problems, poses long-term risks to vital drinking water resources and threatens to lock in catastrophic changes to our climate. We need to ban fracking now.
The term “fracking” is shorthand for hydraulic fracturing. After drilling down to a rock formation that holds oil or natural gas, and then drilling sideways through this targeted layer of rock, operators inject, under extreme pressure, millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals to fracture (or “frack”) the rock. Without these fractures, oil or natural gas would remain tightly held in the rock, unable to flow up the well.
In the public debate over the future of the U.S. energy system, fracking has come to mean much more than just the specific process of high-volume hydraulic fracturing of long horizontal wells to extract shale gas, tight gas and tight oil. To the public, fracking represents all that the specific process of hydraulic fracturing entails: marred landscapes and fragmented forests; roads crowded with heavy-duty trucks carrying water; chemicals and toxic waste; earthquakes related to disposal of this waste, and a legacy of air pollution, water pollution, climate pollution and public health problems.