The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has emerged as a divisive issue across the U.S., reflected in Americans' opinions about it; 40% of Americans say they favor the procedure, while 40% oppose it, and a substantial 19% do not have an opinion. This is amid the Obama administration last week announcing the first nationwide safety rules for fracking.
Fracking is a process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at high pressures to fracture shale rocks and release natural gas inside. Developed in the 1940s, fracking became much more widespread in the late 1980s, when oil operators began drilling horizontally, using hydraulic fracturing. In the 1990s, fracking was introduced into shale formations, and it is this practice on a massive commercial scale that is employed throughout the U.S. today. Many credit fracking with contributing to the current "oil boom," which has helped dramatically ramp up the production of oil in the U.S., and the U.S. even passing Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer. It is also being denounced by environmentalists as causing potential hazards, such as water table pollution and earthquakes.
This Gallup survey was taken March 5-8, before the U.S. Interior Department unveiled new rules regarding fracking on federal lands and Indian territories, but as the debate rages in states such as New York, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.
The survey asked Americans whether they favor or oppose "hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking.'" The survey did not further define the process, list pros or cons or measure the degree to which the public has been following the issue. But eight in 10 Americans are willing to give an opinion, with the results split evenly, along with 19% who explicitly said they didn't have an opinion.See more by clicking here.
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