Distribution of Confinements
Fracking is the hydraulic fracturing of underground rock layers by a process in which water is mixed with sand and chemicals and injected at high pressure into a well for access to natural gas. Fracking has become a highly controversial issue because of poor regulations, lack of scientific research on the environmental impacts, and because of the speed at which fracking policies have been passed through legislative hands.
Concentration of the Problem
Many communities and families in rural places have been adversely affected by contaminated groundwater, depleted sources of fresh water, impaired air quality, and have experienced other burdensome health effects due to the impacts of fracking. In addition to potential harm to drinking water and air quality, the community disruption that comes along with the process can severely impact vulnerable communities.
Communities of color are more likely to have fracking leases in their neighborhoods, exposing them to noise pollution, constant light and social disruption, as well as water and air quality problems. Werder (2013)
Concentration of the Profits
Preferentially selecting communities of color and low wealth for fracking operations puts a undue burden of exposure and adverse health outcomes on vulnerable groups, prioritizing corporate profit over the health of North Carolinians. Those who benefit from fracking are very far removed from the communities of color and low wealth that will be most negatively impacted by this industry. Werder (2013)
Far from powerless as the fossil fuel industry so often assumes, communities have fought back, establishing formal groups, creating dialogue, holding rallies and taking legal action.
In April 2013, we provided information to the EPA on the potential impacts of fracking on low income communities and communities of color in North Carolina. This followed a 2012 Title VI complaint to the EPA’s Office of Civil Rights by our partners Haw River Assembly and West End Revitalization Association regarding NC’s failure to consider disproportionate impacts to communities of color in its exploratory study on fracking for natural gas in the state.
Despite communities’ past victories and and ongoing efforts, there is still so much to be done! Lasting change takes time and support from everyone, including you! Here’s how you can help.