Fracking pollutes our air and drinking water, hurts communities, worsens climate change, and is linked to earthquakes. It is unacceptable that the oil and gas industry profits off fracking at our expense. It’s time to say no to fracking, and yes to clean, renewable energy.
What Is Fracking?
Fracking, short for “hydraulic fracturing,” is a destructive process that corporations including Halliburton, BP and ExxonMobil use to extract oil and natural gas from rock formations deep underground. They drill a well and inject millions of gallons of toxic fracking fluid – a mix of water, sand and harsh fracking chemicals – at extreme enough pressure to fracture the rock and release the oil or gas.
Fracking Facts: The Dangers of Fracking
The entire fracking process — from drilling a well to dealing with the resulting toxic waste — endangers our water and the health of our communities. There is clear evidence of the growing damage caused by fracking:
- Fracking makes people sick. Some people who live near fracking sites have become seriously ill from polluted air and contaminated water. Others can light their tap on fire due to the amount of methane in their water.
- Chemicals used in fracking are toxic. Thanks to government loopholes, the oil and gas industry isn’t required to disclose the chemicals they use, but research has found that many are known endocrine disruptors and carcinogens.
- Fracking hurts communities. Communities with fracking have seen declines in property values, increases in crime, and losses in local tourism and agriculture. Pipelines, oil trains and other infrastructure to support fracking add to these harms.
- Fracking means more climate change. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas driving climate change. Methane leaks from fracking industry sites, making natural gas as bad for the climate as coal and oil.
Why Should We Ban Fracking?
In the United States, drilling and fracking are exempt from the landmark environmental laws, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, thanks to loopholes Congress and regulators have carved out for oil and gas corporations – and spills and accidents are far too common. Food & Water Watch maintains that the fracking process, from constructing well sites to managing toxic fracking waste, is too risky to be regulated. Regulations can never make fracking safe. Fracking also prolongs our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels, delaying policies that will bring us truly clean, renewable energy. Claims that natural gas is a “bridge fuel” ignore the fact that it is a dangerous fossil fuel with serious climate impacts in its extraction, and relying on it does nothing to move us to renewable energy.
Corporate influence over our democracy is one of the biggest threats to our food and water, and has paved the way for more fracking. Learn more about how a handful of oil and gas companies control the public debate over energy and fracking, and discover the policies and influence peddling that have led to the growth of the fracking industry and how a growing movement is working to ban fracking in Frackopoly: The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment by our executive director, Wenonah Hauter.
The movement to stop fracking is strong and growing. Communities around the world are uniting around the call to ban fracking, and they’ve proven in New York, Maryland and in communities across the country that people power can win against corporations. Food & Water Watch has supported this growing movement in many ways: including with ground-breaking research and powerful grass-roots organizing in the United States and beyond, and by sponsoring the Global Frackdown.