The amount of hydraulic fracturing--or fracking--has exploded in recent years and is now active in 22 states. The growth has been so fast that scientists have yet to fully explore the potential impacts caused by this unconventional drilling process. Fracking injects millions of gallons of fluid into a deep well to fracture the rock and release gas or oil. Early studies have found increased methane emissions, radon contamination in drinking water, and issues with the structural integrity of wells that all contribute to both human health risks and environmental dangers.
At least eight states have introduced or passed legislation to place a moratorium on fracking until more research is completed. In many other instances, states are passing legislation with stricter regulations on the handling of wastewater and requiring full disclosure of the chemicals used in drilling.