Environmental Protection

Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing is a process associated with deep natural gas extraction. Millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and opens fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well.

Typically, 80 to 300 tons of chemicals may be used.

In 2005, the Bush/Cheney Energy Bill exempted natural gas drilling from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Companies do not have to disclose the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, but independent scientists have identified volatile organic compounds, such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. As such, the wastewater can be toxic and may cause various chronic health issues and contaminate the air, water wells or surface water.

The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (H.R. 2766), (S. 1215), introduced in 2009, aims to close this loophole by repealing the exemption and require the disclosure of the chemicals involved with hydraulic fracturing. This bill has not yet been passed.

Blog Posts


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    The Marathon Oil video features Eagle Ford Asset Manager Kirk Spilman.

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  • Using Hydraulic Fracturing and Horizontal Drilling for Natural Gas ProductionSep 24, 2012

    The video explains how Chevron uses horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas from shale formations.

    Geologists have long known about huge natural gas deposits trapped in shale rock formations, but it is only over the past decade that energy companies have combined two established technologies to unlock this resource. See how Chevron uses horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to safely produce natural gas from shale. more

  • Hydraulic Fracturing SafetyFeb 20, 2012

    Researchers from The Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin spoke to The Guardian U.K. about their report into the possible environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing. more

  • South Africa Faces Environmental Concerns Over FrackingJun 27, 2011

    EP Video South Africa Fracking

    Al Jazeera English reports on the threat hyraulic fracturing may have on South Africa's farming economy. more

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