What is fracking?
Most of the gas we use in Washington comes from hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” operations in western Canada. This process, using explosives and high-pressure liquid injection, has become notorious for causing air and water pollution and earthquakes. The water that flows to the surface from these wells is contaminated with toxic chemicals and is often radioactive.
The 17 million Americans who live within one mile of an active oil or gas well risk serious health effects. In some homes, methane has mixed in with residents’ drinking water, causing flames when a lit match is held up to a spigot. Air in the vicinity of wells often contains such toxic pollutants as particulates and ozone. Living near a gas well is associated with a higher incidence of premature births, low birth weight, and low gestational age. An analysis by the National Resources Defense Council found that people of color accounted for nine-tenths of the 1.8 million Californians who lived within a mile of oil or gas facilities in communities already heavily burdened by pollution.