It's also unfortunate that it's so much more convenient to say “fracking” than it is to say “high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing and its associated infrastructure.” But that's exactly what opponents of the current method for drilling in the Marcellus Shale are talking about when they say, perhaps too simplistically, “Fracking poisons your air and water.” They are talking about the faulty well casings (still a problem, according to the DEP violations database) that allow methane and other substances to contaminate groundwater aquifers. They are talking about compressor stations with their toxic emissions which the EPA has identified as a serious health risk. These things are part of the “associated infrastructure” of hydraulic fracturing.
The gas industry responds to opponents' linguistic shorthand by saying, very condescendingly: “Fracking doesn't do that. Fracking occurs well below groundwater aquifers, certainly below the air we breathe,” referring, of course, to the deep-level subterranean fracturing of shale and nothing more.
By these statements the industry tries to make opponents of “fracking” (all-inclusive definition) look like fools.
It's time to stop this war of words. It's time to look at this process as a whole, to examine violations databases and health-impact studies and illness reports from drilling areas and properly assess the hazards of the entire process. It's time to shut it down until it can be conclusively proven that it does no harm, not wait for a 10-year study to conclusively prove that it is doing harm. By that time, so much more harm will have been done due to inadequate safeguards, based on: “You can't prove that your symptoms are due to drilling, even if they are the same symptoms that people are experiencing in drilling areas of Texas and Colorado and weren't present until drilling started taking place...”
Yes, “fracking” is a most unfortunate word. It is also a most unfortunate industrial practice. And I think that you know which fracking definition of “fracking” I mean...