To oil and gas engineers, fracking (or fracturing) means the process by which drillers crack open fissures deep beneath the surface to release oil and gas trapped in the shale. The process includes millions of gallons of water together with sand and a diverse formula of chemicals. It’s pumped down, the pressure builds and the rock is fractured. That’s it.
To those opposed to the fracking process, the term is liberally applied to refer to the entire assault on the land, beginning with the initial approach by landsmen, the clearing of forests, the road construction to the well pad, the well rigs and the drilling process, the trucks – by the hundreds – on the roadways supplying water and then removing frackwater, the holding ponds, the noise, fumes, and lights 24-7, the spills, the accidents, the dead animals, the contamination of water supplies, the earthquakes, and, ultimately, the devaluation of land, farms, and lives. And which now includes the pipeline pathways through miles of farmlands, across mountains and streams as an infrastructure vehicle to export terminals.
“Fracking” is the code word for the entire invasion process and has been used and understood by all as the cumulative impacts of gas extraction.
To the oil and gas companies and drilling firms, when the term is not applied as they use it, they tend to be dismissive of those who use it inaccurately. Fracking doesn’t cause cancer; fracking doesn’t pollute the water, they say. Fracking is simply a process by which fissures deep underground release oil or gas. So if you want to make sense to an oil or gas engineer, use the correct terms, because they are very term specific.
Why not call it Natural Gas Extraction Impacts.