While environmentalists and Hollywood stars continue to worry about fracking’s potential to contaminate local groundwater, the energy industry is pointing to its economic benefits.
According to a report prepared by IHS CERA, hydraulic fracturing generated $283 billion in U.S. economic activity, maintained 2.1 million energy industry jobs and resulted in state and federal tax revenues of $75 billion last year. As a side benefit, reduced fuel prices are making it less expensive to manufacture goods in the U.S. compared to other parts of the world, bolstering American industry, Bloomberg notes.
Fracking is a technique in which water and other chemicals are injected into drilling wells under high pressure, creating fractures in the rock to draw out oil and gas.
Environmental advocates point to pollution of groundwater in Pennsylvania, which is thought to be associated with fracking. The process, which uses a lot of water, is also pressuring already low water supplies in drought-ravaged Texas.
A spokesperson for the Environmental Defense Fund said the industry needed to take steps to minimize fracking’s negative effects.