Although hydraulic fracturing (fracking), is benefiting oil and gas drilling across the country, it can be dangerous to both people and wildlife if not done correctly. Fracking involves breaking up shale rock formations deep underground that contains natural resources like gas and oil. To do this, drillers must first create small explosions before pumping a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals into the earth.
Unfortunately, this technique can go wrong; if the oil or gas wells are not built strongly enough, they may leak and pollute groundwater sources. “Flowback” water from fracking operations can pollute streams and drinking water sources. The expansion of hydraulic fracturing has not kept up with important environmental standards. Millions of gallons of toxic fracking fluid are let into the ground on each drilling site without anyone but the drilling companies knowing what is in it. For example, fluids that include cancer-causing chemicals like benzene and toluene are exempt from federal regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.