What's the Big Deal About Fracking?

This post is part of a Green Moms Carnival about fracking (hydraulic fracturing). Read more posts exploring this timely and important topic over at Big Green Purse.

Like most of you, I don't know that much about fracking.  But I do know that despite the promise of job creation, greater energy independence, and lower carbon emissions through the domestic extraction of natural gas, plenty of folks are worried. That is because hydraulic fracking involves drilling a well, and then blasting chemical-laced water (including toxins like benzene or 2-Butoxyethanol, commonly called 2-BE, a toxic solvent) and sand underground to break apart rock and release gas (source). Fracking also produces millions of gallons of toxic wastewater, which creates the possibility of above-ground spills that result in surface-water contamination (this has already happened).  The process has repeatedly been linked to water contamination and other environmental problems.  I hope to learn even more about the issue soon by watching Gasland.

Should you be worried? Well, the big kicker for me in all of this is that fracking was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the 2005 energy bill, which means that the entire process is happening with minimal regulation. So a process that potentially threatens drinking water is not subject to the regulation that is supposed to. . . protect our drinking water.  In the absence of oversight by the E.P.A., states are cobbling together their own regulation.

So to celebrate America's Independence, and the political freedoms we Americans enjoy, let's participate in a little bit of civic action. At the very least, I believe that fracking should be subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act. If you agree, tell your senator to support the "Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act," or FRAC Act. If you don't want fracking to take place in your state, click here to see how you can take action to prevent or stop fracking in your state.

Photo credit: Marcellus Protest


  1. Gasland is definitely worth watching. It really paints a clear picture of the many problems associated with fracking. The giant loophole which is allowing fracking to happen without much regulation is frightening. Thanks for sharing so many simple ways to advocate for the Frac Act.

  2. Not too much movie-watching going on lately at my house, but I hope to watch Gasland soon. I heard some interviews with the producers on the radio a while back and that was sobering enough. Check out grovvygreenlivin's post for much more detail on the craziness that is fracking, readers!


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