20 Stories

Babies Born Near Fracking Wells Are Smaller

Risk is especially high for those within half-mile, says big new study out of Pennsylvania

(Newser) - Expectant moms who live close to fracking sites are significantly more likely to give birth to underweight babies, according to a comprehensive new study out of Pennsylvania. And the closer they are to the well, the greater the risk, say researchers in the journal Science Advances . The researchers found that... More »

Fracking Creates Hot Commodity: Sand

Industry looking to gobble 95M pounds this year

(Newser) - The demand for sand is booming, and while you'll find it in cell phones and solar panels, the real beast driving up prices is the rather controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, which mixes sand with water and chemicals and pumps it underground to force out natural gas. As the... More »

Quakes Turn Texas Towns Against Fracking

Denton might become state's first town to ban it

(Newser) - Earthquakes used to be unheard of in the Texas towns of Azle and Reno. But from November to January, the area experienced 34 perceptible tremors, and while they were all minor, topping out at magnitude 3.6, residents are spooked—and blaming the local fracking industry, NBC News reports. Studies... More »

Exxon CEO Hops on Suit to Stop ... Fracking Activity

Rex Tillerson wants to keep a water tower out of his backyard

(Newser) - Lots of people wouldn't want fracking-related activities taking place near their homes—but when one of those people is the CEO of Exxon Mobil, it raises some eyebrows. The Wall Street Journal last week revealed that Exxon chief Rex Tillerson has joined a lawsuit spearheaded by former House Majority... More »

A New Nuclear Waste Solution: Use It for Fracking?

Team proposes pumping it into, essentially, the center of the Earth

(Newser) - In a story seemingly designed to make a certain kind of environmentalist reach for a drink, researchers this week proposed a new solution for storing nuclear waste: using it as fracking fluid. The idea is that because nuclear waste is heavier than the rock you'd be shooting it into,... More »

Study: Fracking Didn't Mess With Drinking Water

DOE study indicated chemical-laced fluids stayed well below aquifers

(Newser) - If you live near a fracking site, go pour yourself a nice, clean glass of water, because the Department of Energy is pretty sure it's safe. In a landmark study, federal researchers tagged fracking fluids with special markers at a Pennsylvania drilling site before injecting those fluids into the... More »

GE Gets Into the Fracking Biz

Sinks billions in bid to improve the process

(Newser) - One of America's corporate giants is putting its billions where the fracking boom is: General Electric is opening a new laboratory in Oklahoma, buying up related companies, and placing a big bet that cutting-edge science will improve profits for clients and reduce the environmental and health effects of the... More »

Brewers: Don't Frack Up German Beer

Industry group worries fracking will harm the groundwater

(Newser) - Germany prides itself on the (legally mandated) purity of its beers, and brewers refuse to mess that up for a little thing like cheap energy. The Association of German Breweries is coming out in force against fracking, arguing that it should be banned until the government can be completely sure... More »

Colorado Gov. Says He Drank Fracking Fluid

On purpose, to prove it was safe

(Newser) - John Hickenlooper thinks fracking is environmentally safe—and he's willing to put his stomach where his mouth is. The Colorado governor actually downed a glass of Halliburton's fracking fluid to prove it was non-toxic, he revealed yesterday. "You can drink it. We did drink it around the... More »

Frackers Battle Farmers for Water Amid Drought

Gas companies scrambling to buy up supplies for drilling

(Newser) - The drought ravaging the heartland has thrown into stark relief an ongoing battle between farmers and energy companies for that most fundamental of resources: water. As the name implies, hydrofracking requires water, and lots of it—one well can use up to 5 million gallons—so gas companies are storming... More »

Don't Let Fracking Destroy My Home

Sean Lennon warns of the environmental dangers of fracking

(Newser) - In the 1970s, John Lennon and Yoko Ono bought a beautiful farm in an idyllic spot in Delaware County, NY. Now some gas companies intend to "tear through our wilderness" to make room for a hydraulic fracking pipeline, their son Sean writes in the New York Times . "Natural... More »

Fracking's Unlikely Beneficiary: India's Farmers

Tiny bean brings success to one of the world's poorest regions

(Newser) - Talk about a magic bean. Guar, a tiny, durable legume grown in Rajasthan, one of the poorest regions of India, has proven to be a moneymaker thanks to the fracking boom in the US. Indian farmers in the arid region who once grew the bean to help feed their families... More »

Vermont First to Ban Fracking

...Not that there was any fracking going on

(Newser) - Vermont became the first state in the union to ban fracking yesterday, in what would be a landmark moment if any fracking were actually going on there. There was no drilling taking place in Vermont, no plans to drill, and no indication that there was even gas to drill for,... More »

Gasland Director Arrested for Crashing House Hearing

Josh Fox allegedly refused to leave

(Newser) - Josh Fox, Oscar-nominated director of the documentary Gasland, was arrested by Capitol Police this morning when he refused to leave a House hearing. Fox, whose film about natural gas "fracking" has already stirred up quite a bit of drama , was attempting to film a House Science Committee hearing on... More »

Did Drilling Cause Oklahoma's Quakes?

Some blame fracking, amid sketchy evidence

(Newser) - Scientists aren’t entirely sure what caused the earthquakes that rocked Oklahoma last week , but many in the state are wondering whether it might have something to do with the oil wells and fracking operations that dot the state, the LA Times reports. Oil companies scoff at the notion—“... More »

France Bans Fracking; New York Set to Un-Ban It

Controversial process extracts natural gas from ground

(Newser) - France became the first country to ban fracking yesterday—even as reports surfaced that New York was about to lift its de facto moratorium on the controversial practice of extracting natural gas from the earth. The French vote split along party lines, but the opposition largely came from the Socialist... More »

Texas 1st to Pass Fracking Law

Drillers must disclose the chemicals they use starting July 2012

(Newser) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed a bill requiring drillers to publicly disclose the chemicals they use when extracting oil and gas from dense rock formations, the first state to pass such a law. Several other state agencies have passed regulations forcing some disclosure, but none have made it a... More »

House Report: Fracking Uses 29 Carcinogens

Industry resists disclosure, saying chemicals don't affect people

(Newser) - Hydraulic fracturing blasts at least 29 carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals deep into the earth to break up shale formations and get at oil and natural gas, says a new report released yesterday by House Democrats. Known as fracking, the industry used 780 million gallons of drilling fluids between 2005... More »

Recycling Gas Drilling Water Doesn't Stop Risks

Toxic wastewater can still get into drinking supply

(Newser) - The New York Times continues raising alarms about the drilling practice known as hydrofracking, in which water is blasted into rock to extract natural gas. Today's piece focuses on the dangers posed by the contaminated water that returns to the surface. Drilling companies in Pennsylvania have billed water recycling as... More »

Hydrofracking's Ugly Secret: From Gas Wells, Bad Water

Radiation more than 1K times legal limit not properly treated

(Newser) - It's called "hydrofracking"—injecting huge amounts of water, sand, and chemicals underground to break up rock formations and release natural gas—and it has an ugly secret. The technology allows energy companies to wring out small pockets of natural gas all across America—the number of gas wells... More »

20 Stories