What Is Fracking?

Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing. It’s an industrial process that breaks apart rock formations deep underground to extract oil and gas.Hydraulic fracturing is a process done after a well has been drilled, can occur many times, and potentially improve the viability of the well.

The term fracking has come to describe the entire process of creating a fracked well, from drilling the initial hole through the hydraulic fracturing stage and the production of oil and gas.

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While  companies claim fracking has been practiced safely for decades over the past few years directional drilling has been combined with hydraulic fracturing and clusterd multi-well pads to extract dispersed oil and natural gas. Changes in technology and economics have allowed companies to frack on a much larger scale than has ever been done before, making today’s fracking a very different process than in the past. Fracking enables the industry.

The Dangers of Fracking

The Compendium is a fully referenced compilation of the evidence outlining the risks and harms of fracking. It includes findings from scientific and medical literarture, government and industry reports, and journalistic investigation and is available as a public, open-access document. The Compendium states that “a significant body of evidence has emerged to demonstrate these activities are dangerous to people and their communities in ways that are difficult- and may prove impossible- to mitigate. Risks include earthquakes and adverse impacts on water, air, agriculture, public health and safety, property values, climate stability, and economic vitality.”

You can find out more about the health effects of fracking and other oil and gas processes here.

Fracking Bans and Moratoriums

Various countries, states, and municipalities have instituted bans and moratoria, with many prohibitions announced in 2015 and 2016. France banned fracking in 2011 followed by Bulgaria in 2012. Scotland became the first country in the UK to have a formal moratorium on fracking in 2014  with Wales following in 2015. Germany adopted a moratorium on unconventional fracking in 2016.

New York banned high volume fracking in 2014. The Canadian province of New Brunswick declared a moratorium in 2015. The Australian state of Victoria banned fracking in 2016.