What is Fracking?

Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) is one of the most destructive energy processes practiced today. EPA reports show that fracking is the second-biggest contributor of U.S. Greenhouse gases. Contrary to gas and oil company propaganda, this drilling process is unsafe, unclean, and not a form of renewable energy. The truth is fracking is poisoning our air, water, ground water, and now it’s poisoning us.

Fracking (or hydraulic fracturing) is a process of drilling for oil and natural gas from shale rock underneath the earth's surface. A high-pressure mixture of toxic chemicals, water, and sand is injected deep underground. 

Communities worldwide are concerned about the effects of fracking on their health, land, and water. While it is happening in 34 states across the country (where in some communities residents can actually light their tap water on fire), it is currently unregulated in California, with no warning to communities.

There is no safe fracking:

  • Up to 8 million gallons of water are used to frack a single well; one well can be fracked 18 times; this means that one well requires potentially 150 million gallons of water
  • 90% of wells in the United States are currently being fracked, that’s over 800,000 wells
  • 596 chemicals (known carcinogens) are pumped into the earth each time a well is fracked. Many of these chemicals are undisclosed under the trade secret provision protecting energy companies’ proprietary “recipes”
  • On average, 330 tons of chemicals are used per fracking operation 

The millions of gallons of toxic wastewater produced cannot be processed by wastewater treatment. If the steel/cement casing of a well cracks from the pressure the toxins seep into the water aquifers that we drink from. Exploding wells, dwindling ecosystems, toxic sink water, sicknesses and deaths of animals and even humans are not uncommon reports coming from US communities who have been subjected to fracking. The latest report comes from Columbus, Ohio where they experienced 12 earthquakes last December because of local fracking operations.  

Our work: assisting communities to assert their right to say "NO"

The Community Rights Program is working with communities throughout California (such as San Luis Obispo, Culver City, and San Diego) to pass rights-based ordinances that BAN fracking at the local level and elevate citizens' rights to decide if they want fracking in their community, not corporations or the state.

Fracking is an issue of community rights - not regulations. Under our current structure of law, communities are not allowed to decide whether or not fracking is right for them. We are working to change that by writing new laws that assert community rights and subordinate drilling companies (and state agencies) to local, democratic rule. 

The path for these cutting-edge laws has already been paved by dozens of other US communities, including the city of Pittsburgh, PA, who worked with The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to pass a rights-based law banning fracking in November 2010.

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