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Hydraulic Fracturing FAQs

Is fracking safe?

No, fracking, as currently practiced across the United States, poses serious risks to the health and safety of communities and the environment.

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What do you mean you don't know all the chemicals being used for fracking? Haven't you done your research?

Oh, we've done our research, alright. The reason many fracking chemicals go unknown is they're never actually disclosed at all, anywhere, to anyone, ever. 

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Don't we have the technology to make fracking safe?

Nope, no technology currently exists to make fracking safe.

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Why do so many wells leak?

Pressures under the earth, temperature changes, ground movement from constructing nearby wells, and shrinkage crack and damage the thin layer of brittle cement that seals the wells. And getting the cement right as drilling goes horizontal is extremely challenging.

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Haven't there been flaming faucets for years because methane is a naturally occurring gas?

The flaming faucets documented in Gasland are the product of natural gas migration into water supplies in most cases due to fracking right next door. Numerous investigations have confirmed this fact, including studies by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and many others. Industry is essentially claiming a giant conspiracy theory - that these families all across the country are lying in reporting that their wells never flamed before fracking.

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Isn't gas better for then environment than coal?

Actually, no. Methane leaks during the fracking process likely cancels out any benefit gained from burning natural gas instead of coal.

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What about the jobs created by fracking?

The jobs created by fracking are not the kind of quality jobs American workers deserve.

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Isn't the Obama administration issuing new rules on fracking?

The new rules *only* apply to fracking on federal land, which is only a tiny slice of fracking nationwide.

 

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What's in fracking fluid?

Fracking fluid is a toxic brew that consists of multiple chemicals. Industry can pick from a menu of up to 600 different kinds.

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What happens to wastewater

Wastewater disposal is among the biggest challenges of fracking.

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Does fracking cause air polution?

Yes. A lot.

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How does hydraulic fracturing work?

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well.

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What is the FRAC Act?

The FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness to Chemical Act) is a House bill intended to repeal the Halliburton Loophole and to require the natural gas industry to disclose the chemicals they use.

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How serious is water contamination due to fracking?

Very serious. For one thing, we don't even know all the chemicals being used for fracking. But many of the ones we do know about are well-documented (1,2,3) for causing cancer, birth defects, and disorders of the nervous system. The same is true of many naturally occuring but highly toxic substances that are unearthed in the process, then seap into the water supply.

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What are the environmental considerations of fracking?

While there are serious public health risks posed by fracking, there are major impacts on the climate, too. Methane, the same thing as natural gas, is a potent heat-trapping gas, up to 105 times more powerful than carbon dioxide upon release over a 20-year interval. Methane leaks at every stage of a fracking operation, from production and processing to transmission and distribution.

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How deep do natural gas wells go?

The average well is up to 8,000 feet deep. The depth of drinking water aquifers is about 1,000 feet. The problems typically stem from poor cement well casings that leak natural gas as well as fracking fluid into water wells.

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Are the flaming faucets from Dimock, PA fake?

Not only are the flaming faucets from Dimock real, but contamination has been conclusively traced to the fracking-related activity of one particular company.

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Do you agree natural gas from fracking is a bridge fuel while we develop carbon-free sources of energy like wind and solar?

Fracked gas is a bridge to nowhere. Reports (12) suggest fugitive emissions of methane are so substantial that they completely outweigh any climate benefits of gas as compared to coal. Further, the flood of cheap natural gas in the market is having unintended consequences for renewable energy, which is being further squeezed out of the market place.

 

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Won't fracking bring us energy independence?

No. The idea that fracking is the key to American energy independence is a myth. We don't use natural gas to power cars, and we don't use oil to generate electricity.

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Won't regulations force fracking be done safely?

No. Fracking is exempt or excluded from most major federal laws protecting environmental health.

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What about the University of Texas study that finds no connection between fracking and water contamination?

The University of Texas at Austin has withdrawn that study after the lead investigator was tied to have a financial interest in the natural gas industry.

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How much water is used during fracking operations?

Generally, 2-8 million gallons of water may be used to frack a well. Some wells consume much more. A well may be fracked multiple times, with each frack increasing the chances of chemical leakage into the soil and local water sources.

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Can fracking cause earthquakes?

Yes! Fracking has been proven to cause earthquakes, directly and indirectly.

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What is horizontal hydraulic fracturing?

Horizontal hydrofracking is a means of tapping shale deposits containing natural gas that were previously inaccessible by conventional drilling.

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What is the Halliburton Loophole?

In 2005, the Bush/ Cheney Energy Bill exempted natural gas drilling from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

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