Three men in the UK were jailed for protesting at a new fracking site in Lancashire. Two of the men served 16 months of jail time, while the third man served 15 months. Despite the fact that the men climbed onto trucks in July 2017 to protest, fracking still began this past October.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a way to get gas and oil out of shale rock. The word fracking refers to the way that rocks fracture. It involves drilling into the earth, followed by a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals. When that mix is injected, it causes natural gas to flow out. As the need for natural gas has increased globally, so has the use of fracking.
Fracking started out as an experiment in 1947 and was soon followed by commercial use in 1949 in the United States. Since then, over 2.5 million oil and gas wells have been created by the use of hydraulic fracturing worldwide, with over a million in the US alone. The United Kingdom has used fracking since 1965. Other countries that use fracking include Canada, China, and even New Zealand.
Although hydraulic fracturing is widely used, it’s a controversial method that creates water and air pollution. The method creates huge amounts of wastewater that is filled with toxic chemicals. Contaminated water from fracking chemicals can make its way into the groundwater, killing crops and endangering animals and people. Fracking also releases methane into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas, 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the Earth.
Earthquakes are another unfortunate side effect of fracking. As wastewater builds up underground, layers of earth begin to float and stress on the rocks increases. The result is repetitive earthquakes that can last for months even after the fracking process has been completed. In May 2011, fracking was suspended in Lancashire, UK after two minor earthquakes occurred.
壓裂施工不為人樂見的副作用也包括地震。施工廢水灌進地下，岩層浮動，岩石壓力增加。結果導致地震反覆發生，甚至壓裂工程結束後，地震持續數個月。2011 年5 月因發生兩次小地震，英國蘭開夏的壓裂工程便被下令停工。
Opponents of fracking are working to ban the method. In the US, New York state banned hydraulic fracturing in 2012. In 2017, Maryland also banned the process. In California, there have been restrictions on fracking on public lands but President Trump’s administration now is trying to remove the ban. Outside of the US, France, Bulgaria, Germany and Scotland have all banned the practice. However, fracking companies and their supporters insist that fracking is safe and should be legal.