Get the facts on fracking

Fracking pollutes our air, land and water, while deepening our dependence on fossil fuels and exacerbating the climate crisis.

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Over the past 15 years or so, fracking has enabled an explosion of oil and gas extraction across the United States. By drilling horizontally and then pumping toxic fluid at high pressure to fracture shale rock, fracking captures otherwise inaccessible fossil fuels dispersed underground. As we documented in Fracking by the Numbers, the resulting environmental degradation is enormous.

Fracking generates huge volumes of toxic wastewater – laced with chemicals and sometimes even radioactive substances. Leaks and spills of fracking waste have put drinking water sources and at risk on hundreds of occasions. Fracking also uses billions of gallons of water – even in drought-stricken places like Texas.

Public health is also endangered by the industrial machinery connected to fracking – as wells, compressors, trucks and other equipment release toxic air pollution.

In addition, dirty drilling also does substantial damage to wildlife and our natural heritage – as well pads, new access roads, pipelines and other infrastructure built for fracking turn forests and rural landscapes into industrial zones.

And while fracking has brought a windfall for some, its industrial disruption and legacy waste impose a multitude of costs on communities.  And dirty drilling also contributes to the climate crisis – especially as methane leaks from well pads and beyond.

Against this dirty record, the oil and gas industry has sought to convince the public that fracking can be done safely. Yet our researchers in Pennsylvania uncovered fracking operators continuing to violate environmental and health rules with impunity.

For all these reasons, Environment America is working to halt the expansion of fracking wherever we can and enforce stronger environmental safeguards wherever dirty drilling is already underway.


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