This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Is Fracking Safe?

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Is fracking environmentally safe?

That's a key question surrounding the fast-growing method of gas and oil extraction -- and one that's triggered debate since the process became more economically viable.

It isn't hard to see where the concerns come from: The fracking process involves injection of fluids -- mostly sandy water, but some chemicals as well -- to bore holes in rock, releasing trapped gas and oil. The fluids are then pumped out of the well, treated and disposed (or possibly, reused). Few take issue with the injected water and sand. But the chemicals have long been a source of contentious debate.

The anti-fracking crowd argues these chemicals -- which many companies have historically not disclosed publicly -- can seep into the ground water, harming the environment and, occasionally, polluting drinking water. The documentary Gasland depicts this starkly -- showing murky and flammable water pouring out of taps into would-be drinkers' glasses. Now, Gasland isn't exactly a scientific review. And more scientific approaches to date haven't supported many of the movie's assertions.

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Industry experts point out frack wells are generally drilled thousands of feet below the water table, making the thesis chemicals leak into ground water unlikely to be broadly true. Not to mention myriad safety measures taken to prevent possible leakage -- like cementing and sealing well walls. But of course, none of that means issues aren't possible.
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.24 -0.41%
FB $117.81 -0.21%
GOOG $701.43 0.82%
TSLA $211.53 -4.96%
YHOO $36.94 2.61%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,660.71 +9.45 0.05%
S&P 500 2,050.63 -0.49 -0.02%
NASDAQ 4,717.0940 -8.5450 -0.18%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs