Fracking is Not Just an Environmental Issue, but a Political One!!

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Hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, is a drilling technique used for extracting oil or natural gas from deep underground.  Though fracking is used worldwide to extract gas and oil, a fracking boom has occurred recently in the United States, partly driven by concerns over energy security and the costs associated with imported oil and other fossil fuels.

Fracking is a highly debated environmental issue. Advocates insist it is a safe and clean method of obtaining essential sources of power that will meet U.S. energy needs for decades; opponents, however, claim fracking can destroy drinking water supplies, cause air pollution, surface water pollution, groundwater contamination, and health problems.  In addition the concerns of water quality, fracking wells release compounds into the air, such as benzene and ethylbenzene, and long-term exposure to these contaminants have been linked to cancer, birth defects, neurological problems and blood disorders.

In April 2011, a fracking well in Bradford County, Pa. malfunctioned, emitting thousands of gallons of contaminated fracking water for more than 12 hours.

“In 2012, 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.” (http://cuanschutztoday.org/health-impacts-of-fracking-emissions/)

More recently, this month, Scientists discovered “dangerous water contamination from a fracking operation in Wyoming, three years after the US Environmental Protection Agency decided to abandon its investigation into the matter.”  For more information on this recent finding, please visit http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/07/wyoming-fracking-water-contamination-dangerous-chemicals.

Regarding the federal responsibility of fracking, it  does not have to disclose the chemicals used in fracking wells, however, Wyoming, Michigan and Texas have regulations requiring full disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking.  In addition, some cities have even banned fracking sites.