What The Frack Is Fracking?

What The Frack Is Fracking?

FRACKING aka “hydraulic fracturing” is a more intensive method* of oil and gas extraction used when primary processes of extraction cannot fully access the resources.

Hydraulic fracturing is a process in which a liquid mixture (typically inc. water, sand, or other materials known as “proppants”) is injected at high pressures into an oil/gas well, in order to fracture the reservoir. These fractures allow oil or gas to flow more freely, increasing the yield.

other types of these more intensive extractions include acid well stimulation treatments, and cyclic-steam operations which are also dangerous

Environmental Effects of Fracking

While the effects range widely depending on method, the impacts of these practices can include: air pollution surface and groundwater contamination an increase in earthquakes and seismic activity spillage of oil or contaminated wastewater * methane release into atmosphere

Health Effects of Fracking

Oil extraction can cause extremely harmful health effects, or worsen ongoing health complications. The majority of oil and gas operations take place in areas already impacted by poor air quality, meaning fracking pollution can result in dangerously high levels of:

These pollutants have well-established links to cancer, heart disease, endocrine disruption, adverse reproductive outcomes, and increased emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and premature death.

These often life-threatening health complications are far worse for those communities directly near oil and gas production. Studies in both California and in other states show a correlation between the distance a community resides near a well and increased rates of birth defects, premature birth, and low birth weights. Further, asthma rates increase closer to an active well, as do hospitalizations for heart failure, fatigue, stress, and other serious health complications.

The communities exposed to the chemicals, pollution and other detriments of oil and gas production are largely low-income, communities of color.

Economic Effects of Fracking

These extraction methods also utilize an enormous amount of water, which is an increasingly precious resource. In 2014 in California, with hydraulic fracturing alone, oil producers used nearly 70 million gallons of water. This water was desperately needed during the extreme drought in 2015 that cost roughly $2.7 billion and killed 20,000 agriculture-related jobs.

The water used for fracking is likely to never re-enter the water cycle due to the contamination these practices cause. Water prices will only continue to rise due to competition from oil producers as our water supply becomes scarcer.

The Solution?

California Legislators have written a bill, SB467, that would:

Tell Your Legislator to Vote YES on SB 467!

Posted on April 12, 2021 in ECOVOTE BLOG.

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