Surface effects part of fracing in popular view

Political conflict over hydraulic fracturing turns on a semantic point crucial but perhaps not evident to the oil and gas industry. Opponents of the industry have made fracing a lever of environmental objection, saying the procedure threatens water supplies and causes earthquakes. Producers respond that fracing injects largely benign fluids into rock layers separated from groundwater by thousands of feet of impermeable rock. They note that fracing has occurred for 60 years, under heavy state regulation, without contaminating water supplies or toppling skyscrapers. Those statements are factual. But when producers discuss fracing, they address consequences in the injection zone, typically n...

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