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Survey Finds Fracking Has Some Americans Worried

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More Americans are aware of the gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, according to a new survey. And many are concerned about the impact fracking could have on water quality.

The fracking survey was conducted by the Civil Society Institute. The poll of more than 1,000 people found that more than half of all those surveyed had at least some awareness of the fracking issue, and that two out of three (69 percent) are “very” (40 percent) or “somewhat” (29 percent) concerned about water quality issues. Over half of Americans (56 percent) who are very/somewhat aware of fracking think state and federal officials are either “not doing as much as they should” (42 percent) or “not doing anything at all” (14 percent) to “require proper disclosure of the chemicals used in natural gas drilling.”

A separate survey of 838 New Yorkers found that half of all New York state residents – but under two in five New York City residents — are already very or somewhat aware of the controversy about hydraulic fracturing. Among New York state residents who already are aware of fracking, nearly nine out of 10 (88 percent) are concerned about the drilling technique’s possible threat to clean drinking water for New York City.

Yet another survey of more than 400 Pennsylvanians found that four out of five Pennsylvania residents (81 percent) who are very/somewhat aware of fracking are “very concerned” (44 percent) or “somewhat concerned” (37 percent) “about the potential for Pennsylvania drinking water sources to be compromised by the natural gas drilling process known as ‘fracking’.”

Fracking is a drilling technique that involves injecting water, sand, and a cocktail of chemicals at high pressure into rock formations thousands of feet below the surface. Thanks to a move by Congress in 2005, fracking is exempt from federal regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. As a result, the industry is not required to disclose the chemicals – some of which are known to be hazardous – that make up their fracking fluids.

The Civil Society Institute is a nonpartisan think tank based in Massachusetts that advocates solutions for climate change.

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