Hydraulic fracturing, known more commonly as "fracking," is a method of natural gas and oil extraction gaining widespread use throughout the world today. The recent increase in fracking has come from innovations in extraction methods, especially horizontal drilling, and fiscal incentives that have made fracking an economic and job boon in recent years. The fracking process forces water, sand and a mixture of chemicals (often trade secrets) into rock fissures at high pressure to release the gas or oil from deep underground.
Fracking has been heralded by the industry as a safe extraction method that allows us to acquire fossil fuel deposits that were not feasible to extract by conventional means; not everyone agrees, however. Arguments over groundwater contamination from methane and toxic chemicals have sparked much controversy to the fossil fuel's 'greener' image. Also, reports are indicating that leaking methane from the process, known as fugitive emissions, is significantly adding to our climate change woes due to methane's much higher global warming potential compared to carbon dioxide.
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