What Are the Pros and Cons of Fracking?

The main pro of fracking is that natural gas is less harmful to the environment than coal when used as fuel. The main con is that fracking operations may harm their surrounding communities.

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is the process of drilling straight down until the bedrock layer is reached and then injecting a mixture of chemicals and water to release natural gas. Proponents of fracking point out that it reduces America's dependence on foreign oil. Fracking also promotes the use of natural gas over coal, which is very harmful to the environment.

Environmental activists focus on the effects of fracking on the environment. The hydraulic fracturing process involves chemicals that potentially are dangerous to the environment. These chemicals aren't dangerous when disposed of properly, but fracking often occurs near residential areas. Fracking involves drilling into the bedrock layer beneath the water table, so chemical leaks can end up flowing directly into a community's drinking water.

Scientists believe that the geological shifts that occur when drilling into the bedrock may cause earthquakes. They also point out that methane leaks caused by fracking may cancel out any benefit to the environment derived from the use of natural gas. It's worth noting that while natural gas is allegedly less harmful to the environment than coal burning, some claim that it is by no means good for the environment.