Hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, and other drilling practices have unlocked previously inaccessible reserves of oil and gas across the United States and the world. However, some of the debate over fracking is distorting public understanding of these practices and interfering with good decision-making about this recent boom in unconventional oil and gas production.
We often hear statements like this from industry and pro-drilling politicians:
America has drilled and fracked more than 1 million wells over the past 60 years, and in all that time there has never been a proven case of groundwater contamination caused by fracking.
This statement, in some form or another, is repeated from the kitchen tables of ordinary citizens to the halls of Congress, as landmen use it to try to secure mineral rights from private landowners and legislators advocate for more drilling on millions of acres of public land. Even environmentalists, scientists, and regulators, when pressed, reluctantly confirm this statement is technically correct. Upon closer examination... Read more