What is fracking?

Horizontal hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking -- is a drilling method used by oil companies to extract gas from shale as deep as 8,000 feet below the surface. Horizontal fracking mixes hundreds of chemicals with millions gallons of water and blasts it into the ground under high pressure to break up shale and rock and release gas.

How is it dangerous?

Not only does the process use millions of gallons of water which are then contaminated by chemicals and radioactive material, the fracks often leak chemicals and gas into the ground water, contaminating wells and rivers that supply drinking water for millions of people. The extent of the harm caused by fracking remains unknown, but many residents exposed to the water and air contaminated by fracking toxins have reported health concerns ranging from nausea and fainting spells to respiratory problems and even cancer.

Where does it take place?

Fracking is happening in 28 states. Any land containing shale is prime fracking territory. The effects of fracking can be felt in a wide radius around each and every drill site.

What is the legal status of fracking?

Because Dick Cheney negotiated Halliburton loophole in 2005, fracking is currently unregulated by the EPA. Oil companies don't have to disclose the chemicals used in the process. Even though it is widely documented that fracking poses extreme health risks particularly in our drinking water, the Halliburton loophole exempts fracking from the Clean Water Act.

Are there safer alternatives to fracking? What are they?

Truly clean energy technology -- such as solar and wind power -- has the potential to create millions of American jobs and break our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels like the natural gas extracted by fracking.

What's being done to stop it?

The FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness to Chemical Act) is a House bill intended to repeal the Halliburton Loophole and to require the natural gas industry to disclose the chemicals they use.

Additionally, there are moratoriums on fracking proposed in individual states -- for example the Delaware River Basin Commission is currently considering extending a moratorium on fracking in Pennsylvania and New York which affects the drinking water of over 15 million people.

How can I help?

Help us pass the FRAC Act -- add your name to the statement of support, volunteer to collect signatures, call your elected officials

Click here to sign the petition