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What environmental issues are associated with hydraulic fracturing?

The actual practice of hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) is only a small part of the overall process of drilling, completing, and producing an oil and gas well.

Environmental issues that are specifically related to hydraulic fracturing include:

  • water availability
  • spills of chemicals at the surface
  • impacts of sand mining for use in the hydraulic fracturing process
  • surface water quality degradation from waste fluid disposal
  • groundwater quality degradation
  • induced seismicity from the injection of waste fluids into deep disposal wells

Any kind of oil and gas drilling can additionally cause:

  • reduced air quality
  • noise
  • night sky light pollution
  • landscape changes such as forest fragmentation
  • disruption to wildlife corridors and habitats

It is important to note that not all of these potential impacts occur at every site and many impacts can be avoided or mitigated with the proper practices.

Learn more: Hydraulic Fracturing


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