Fracking (short for hydraulic fracturing) is the process of fracturing rocks to access natural gas deposits, usually done in reservoirs by injecting chemicals into the water. This is very detrimental to the water supply because it can poison it by leaving behind fatal substances in the water. Fracking leaves behind high levels of ethane, methane, and benzene in the water, which are contaminates.
Environmentalists are against fracking because it is harmful to human health and the environment.
On the other hand, hydraulic fracturing has been done for 60 years without extensive contamination of water supplies (there are exceptions, of course; nothing like this is 100% safe). Not saying its aggressive use for the new shale gas plays has no impact, because it may; just saying it is a well-established, generally safe technique.
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