Distance: A Critical Aspect for Environmental Impact Assessment of Hydraulic Fracking
Meng, Q., & Ashby, S. (2014). Distance: A Critical Aspect for Environmental Impact Assessment of Hydraulic Fracking. The Extractive Industries and Society. Elsevier. 1(2), 124-126. DOI:10.1016/j.exis.2014.07.004.
Public concerns about hydraulic fracking are growing and scientists continue to analyze and evaluate its associated environmental impacts. However, a rigorous spatial analysis of environmental impacts is necessary to provide a perspective on risk based on proximity to fracking wells. This comment describes the environmental impacts of fracking within a spatial context. It emphasizes five key points: (1) the closer to a hydraulic fracking well, the higher the risk of groundwater and drinking water well contamination; (2) residents living nearest to a fracking well experience a higher human health risk due to exposure to gas emissions during the fracking process; (3) huge and high density gas emissions are detected and recorded close to fracking wells; (4) fracking induces seismicity and small earthquakes are recorded close to fracking wells; and (5) hydraulic fracking directly changes local environment and landscape characteristics. Spatial impact assessments are critical for improving understanding of the impacts of hydraulic fracking on the environment and society.