Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of injecting millions of gallons of water, tens of thousands of gallons or pounds of chemicals and tons of silica sand to fracture rock formations and create pathways for natural gas and/or oil to flow into and up the well bore. The produced petroleum products are then trucked, piped or shipped for refining and distribution while most of the waste fluids and solids are trucked to injection wells and landfills for disposal.
There are documented cases of poisoned streams, underground aquifers and water wells from spills, illegal dumping and toxic fluid migration. The original fracking fluid, flowback fluid, contains carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals while the continually produced water contains endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX) as well as naturally occurring radioactive elements present in the shale formation. The fracturing of the shale layers and more commonly the injection of the waste fluids have been associated with induced seismicity, i.e. earthquakes. As of 2015, there are over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers that show problems in public health, water pollution or air pollution due to shale gas development. See the following paper: http://www.psehealthyenergy.org/site/view/1233
State and Federal laws allow the oil and gas industry to extract petroleum resources and dispose of the wastes with little regulation or regard to the health and safety of local communities. Many State Legislatures have pre-empted local communities from decisions regarding oil and gas activities next to their homes or land.
As a result of our government favoring corporate rights over the rights and health of citizens, many communities across the United States are using citizen initiatives to enact local Community Bills of Rights, which codify into law their unalienable rights to clean air, pure water, safe soil and local decision-making.
Unfortunately, many citizens in rural areas and even some states are unable to use the citizen initiative process to effect positive change in their community.