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Fracking Facts: The Science, Economics, and Legal Realities

March 18, 2015
By Leigh Thompson

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, has been employed in the U.S. since the 1940s. While innovation has improved the precision of the process, the essentials are the same.

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Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, has been employed in the U.S. since the 1940s. While innovation has improved the precision of the process, the essentials are the same. Utilizing horizontal drilling, a mixture of mostly water, sand, and trace amounts of chemicals are used to create fissures in underground shale deposits allowing oil and natural gas trapped in hard rock to move toward the surface where it is collected. Fracking, and the processes associated with it, are blamed for emissions of pollutants, earthquakes, and even groundwater contamination, though independent evidence consistently shows these allegations to be false. The evidence supporting fracking bans begins to look slim when attention is drawn to the facts.

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Energy Environment