June 01, 2015

Is Fracking an Inflammatory Word?

Blake A. Watson

Hydraulic fracturing is a method of oil and gas extraction. It involves the pumping of a mixture of proppants, chemicals, and large amounts of water into wells to exert pressure and fracture rock formations, thereby allowing otherwise “trapped” gas and oil to flow more freely. See Railroad Commission of Texas v. Citizens for a Safe Future and Clean Water, 336 S.W.3d 619, 621 (Tex. 2011) (describing the “fracing” process). With the development of horizontal drilling and more effective lubricants, it is now possible to remove “unconventional” sources of oil and gas located in shale and other dense substrata. Positive effects include lower fuel costs and greater energy independence. Negative effects include air and water contamination, adverse impacts on water supplies and roads, noise concerns, and a possible connection to earthquakes.

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