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Environmental and Health Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Extraction

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Miriam Aczel
added 11 research items
Children can both learn from and contribute to citizen science. Scientific learning can develop children’s environmental citizenship, voices and democratic participation as adults. The quality of data produced by children varies across projects and can be assumed to be of poorer quality because of their age, experience and less-developed skill set. If citizen science activities are appropriately designed they can be accessible to all children, which can also improve their accessibility to a wider range of citizens in general
The potential impacts of fracking on the environment and health, as well as impacts on local communities and their "quality of life," are well documented. This paper outlines the potential human rights impacts of fracking and argues for a human rights-based, participatory, and justice-based approach to regulation. In particular, it discusses the findings of the recent Permanent Peoples' Tribunal session on human rights, fracking, and climate change, held in Oregon, United States, and the potential impact of the tribunal's decision on other jurisdictions where fracking takes place, particularly England.
Miriam Aczel
added a research item
Although the United States has been stimulating well production with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”)1 since the 1940s [1], high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) combined with horizontal drilling is a relatively recent [2, 3] development with potential to adversely impact human health [4], environment [5], and water resources [6], with uncertainty about impacts and gaps in the data on HVHF compared to conventional drilling techniques [7]. Part of protecting environmental and public health is identifying potential risks before licenses are issued and drilling operations proceed. To this end, two case studies, focusing on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures of California and New York, are analyzed in this paper. Both states have histories of strong environmental protection law and policy [8–10] and legally require an EIA to be conducted before development of HVHF sites [11, 12], an outgrowth of the 1969 federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). New York State conducted what appears to be a thorough EIA [13] and concluded that as there were too many gaps in the data on HVHF, fracking could not proceed. California’s EIA, which was less extensive, and did not consider health impacts [14], concluded that HVHF could proceed, relatively unabated. A comparison of these cases illustrates that the processes designed to ensure adequate identification, monitoring, and assessment of environmental impacts are prone to differences [15]—an outcome of the fact that laws governing HVHF in the US are not consistent across, nor controlled at, the federal level [16, 17].