Hydraulic Fracturing in the Appalachian Basin: Incorporating Environmental Justice to Regulate Natural Resource Exploration
7 ANRLJ 113 (2012-2013).
Posted: 9 Feb 2014
Date Written: May 1, 2013
Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) has significantly increased the production of gas and oil in the United States to the point that various regions of the United States are primed to become major contributors to our country’s energy independence and security. This revolution has been met with widespread protests from environmentalists and citizens who are concerned that fracking will only exacerbate environmental issues throughout the world.
This Article posits that given the federal government’s investment in fracking, as well as the projected upside of a national energy policy that relies upon increased natural gas and oil production, fracking is presumably here to stay or will be permitted in the future after more studies are conducted. Indeed, overtime fracking may become enough of a green extraction process that many environmental concerns will be allayed. In the interim, instead of allowing U.S. citizens residing in proximity to fracking sites − like those residing in the Appalachian Basin − to remain in harm’s way, a policy of environmental justice should be incorporated into the process for regulating fracking and future mining for other natural resources. This would create a counterbalance to the risky exploration for any natural resources that have remained undiscovered or underutilized and ensure a balanced approach to achieving an energy policy that protects millions of U.S. citizens from further environmental harm and related health issues.
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