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Distance: A Critical Aspect for Environmental Impact Assessment of Hydraulic Fracking Abstract

Abstract

Abstract 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.

Citation

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.