Hydrofracking drills vertically into the earth and then horizontally to create a wide and deep well. The operators then shoot five to nine million gallons of water, propping agents, and up to 600 chemicals—including known carcinogens and toxins such as lead, uranium, mercury, formaldehyde and radium chemicals—into the ground to fracture the rock formations and force out natural gas and oil.
When the high-pressure water fractures the crust, these chemicals are forced into the earth causing heavy pollution that leaks into nearby groundwater and heavily contaminates drinking water for local communities. The fracturing also causes unnatural earthquakes, and, because of the chemicals additives, the wastewater cannot be used for anything but fracking. The contamination has caused more than a thousand documented cases of neurological, respiratory and sensory damage. As of February 2014, there were more than 1 million active fracking wells in the United States distributed throughout 35 states.
Fracking companies often target low-income, indigenous or communities of color because the residents often do not have the proper resources to recognize their rights, publicize their rights, or find support from legal representation and government entities.
CHEJ has been working for many years with families, schools and small organizations all over the U.S. that are fighting against the effects of fracking. Our No Fracking Ohio Campaign has won many victories, including the introduction of Senate Bill 78, which banned fracking for both oil and natural gas underneath Lake Erie. In New York, a huge grassroots effort we have extensively supported led to a ban on hydrofracking. CHEJ supported campaigns in Maryland and North Carolina have had similar impact.
CHEJ has also initiated the Campaign to Prevent Fracking Harms, a cross-country effort that highlights the true consequences of fracking, brings attention and media to local groups currently organizing against fracking, and promotes the transition to clean, renewable energy sources. This initiative is a two-part solution—part one is the end of the fracking and part two, the switch to renewable energy. Some groups work with us solely on part one, others focus on part two, and many combine both.