German government agrees to ban controversial fracking practice

Germany may move away from the controversial practice of drilling for shale gas The German government has chosen to take aggressive action on fracking. After years or derisive talks, the coalition government has decided to ban fracking for shale gas indefinitely. The ban aims to address concerns regarding the damage that this practice can cause to the environment. While some environmental groups have praised the decision, others believe that the ban does not go far enough. Some of these groups have vowed to fight the ban in order to promote…

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Half of U.S. oil production comes from fracking

About 50% of the oil produced in America in 2015 was provided by hydraulic fracturing, reported the EIA. According to a recent report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), hydraulic fracturing, an oil and gas mining process more commonly known as fracking, accounts for approximately half of the crude oil produced in the United States. The controversial oil and gas extraction technique has been around for over six decades and involves injecting a mixture of sand, chemicals and water deep underground to breakup dense shale rock formations to tap into…

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Fracking was behind the 4.6 magnitude quake in B.C.

The earthquake that occurred in August is the largest in the Canadian province to be linked to hydraulic fracturing. According to British Columbia’s energy regulator, the 4.6 magnitude earthquake that occurred back in August in northeast B.C. was the result of a nearby fracking operation. The seismic event took place approximately 110 kilometers (69 miles) northwest of Fort St. John, near a Progress Energy hydrofracturing site, reported CBC News. Frackquakes have occurred in other areas including Oklahoma and the UK. Fracking is a mining process that involves injecting a mixture…

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Study suggests link between fracking and risk of premature birth

Expectant mothers who live near hydraulic fracturing wells could have high risk pregnancies. Health officials and many Pennsylvanian residents have been concerned about the effects of fracking on water and air quality and its stress on residents, and now this concern may be increased as new research from Johns Hopkins University suggests that pregnant woman who live near hydrofracturing wells in Pennsylvania have a greater likelihood of experiencing high risk pregnancies or giving birth prematurely. Living among the most active quartile of hydrofracturing activity was associated with a 40% increase…

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New study finds majority of fracking waste is dumped in unlined pits

This waste could threaten California’s drinking water. A state-mandated study of fracking that was issued last week, has said that according to its findings, over half of the wastewater from fracked oil wells in the state of California is left to rot in open, unlined pits, and this method of disposal could lead to the contamination of groundwater Some hydraulic fracturing disposal pits are located directly on top of usable drinking water supplies. According to the study, there are over 900 hydrofracturing waste disposal pits peppered across the San Joaquin…

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Fracking Officially Banned in New York

After a seven year study, New York has formalized its ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing. The decision to officially ban fracking in the state was announced on Monday by Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens, who said that “Prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative.” The agency concluded after their multi-year study that current safety precautions for drilling are inadequate. In his announcement, Martens stated that “High-volume hydraulic fracturing pose significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that…

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Study finds chemicals associated with fracking in water wells

Some of the findings of a recently published U.S. groundwater study are “alarming.” A highly comprehensive groundwater study that was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), discovered elevated levels of multiple chemical compounds and metals linked to the fracking (hydraulic fracturing) process in private and public water wells along the Barnett Shale, which is “incredibly alarming” according to the lead scientist of the study. Over the past two years, groundwater tests were performed in 13 counties along the Barnett Shale. The peer-reviewed study, which was…

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Fracking does not contaminate water, according to EPA study

A long-anticipated study from the EPA says hydraulic fracturing is not a threat to drinking water. One of the biggest ongoing debates regarding hydraulic fracturing – the controversial oil and natural gas extraction process better known as fracking – is whether or not it contaminates aquifers with potentially harmful chemicals, which are used in the liquid mixture of water, sand and chemicals that is pumped into the ground to break up the rock below. While many believe that hydrofracturing does put the public’s drinking water supply at risk of contamination,…

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Fracking banned in Maryland

Governor Larry Hogan makes decision not to veto hydraulic fracturing ban. The bill that was passed in Maryland bans fracking for two and a half years, and during the moratorium, the state is required to write standards to regulate the natural gas extraction process once the ban is lifted. Maryland is the second state to ban hydrofracturing in recent months. Maryland’s state-wide ban follows New York’s ban, which occurred near the end of last year. Aside from New York, other states in America that have prohibited the controversial mining practice…

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Study shows hydraulic fracturing could recover 140 billion barrels of oil worldwide

Russia, China, Mexico and Iran have the most to gain from fracking techniques. According to a recent study published by the American-based IHS research firm, oil extraction via the controversial hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technique could be exactly what abandoned oilfields located outside of North America require to recover the untapped oil that the research indicates would be nearly 140 billion barrels of oil, and Russian, China, Mexico, and Iran are the four countries that would most benefit from extraction methods such as fracking and horizontal drilling. The study indicates 135…

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Fracking linked to elevated levels of radon gas in Pennsylvania

New study finds connection between increased radon gas in homes and hydraulic fracturing. A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found an unsettling connection between high levels of radon gas, a dangerous odorless and colorless radioactive gas that has been linked to lung cancer, and the gas and oil mining technique known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Radon levels are usually higher in regions where hydrofracturing operations are in production. The study, which was recently published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, revealed…

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New law in Germany to tighten fracking restrictions

Hydraulic fracturing will be permitted only in certain areas of the European nation. While fracking has not yet been fully banned in Germany, under a new law, the controversial mining practice will be heavily restricted and banned in certain regions of the country in order to protect the environment, health, and drinking water and would also lead to overall stricter rules for conventional oil and gas production. Hydrofracturing would be banned in national parks and nature reserves. In addition to national parks and nature reserves, the draft laws would also…

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Fracking rules tightened by Obama administration

Tougher restrictions were imposed on oil and gas hydraulic fracturing operations on public lands. In an effort to reduce the risk of water contamination that can result from fracking operations, the Obama administration unveiled the nation’s first major safety restrictions for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands this past Friday, which immediately received plenty of backlash from Obama’s critics both in the energy industry and Congress. Hydrofracturing has helped to make the U.S. the top producer of natural gas in the world. While fracking is definitely one of the chief reasons…

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Fracking is given the go-ahead in North Carolina

New drilling rules go into effect in the Tar Heel State. On Tuesday, North Carolina’s longstanding freeze on hydraulic fracturing came to an end with the passing of the House Bill 157, which ushered in new drilling rules and opened up the application process for companies interested in fracking for natural gas. The final vote was 39 – 10, with six Democrats joining 33 Republicans in approving the bill. Critics say that the new rules are weak and insufficient. After legalizing the controversial mining practice back in 2012, North Carolina…

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Fracking banned for an additional five years in Tasmania

The government has extended its ban on hydraulic fracturing to protect the island state’s agricultural industry. Tasmania has extended its fracking ban for another five years, making it second to Victoria for outlawing the controversial mining practice that is most commonly used to source coal seam gas, and the ban was announced late this week, after a long review and over 150 submissions, reported The Guardian. Hydrofracturing was not worth risking Tasmania’s reputation for producing premium produce. Jeremy Rockliff, Tasmania’s primary industries minister, said that “There is considerable concern around…

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Small earthquakes linked to fracking could become bigger down the road

New research says that minor frackquakes are dramatically raising the risk of larger and dangerous quakes. According to federal research that was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science by William Ellsworth, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist, small earth tremors linked to fracking that have been occurring daily in Oklahoma and southern Kansas, are significantly increasing the future probability of quakes that will be far bigger and dangerous. A big earthquake in these regions isn’t imminent but the likelihood is increasing. While the potential for future large…

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