Hydraulic fracturing – also known as fracking – is the process of pumping water and chemicals underground to fracture rocks and release natural gas. In the United States, there is a heated debate over the safety of these practices and whether they are hazardous to the environment and public health. Activists say fracking is contaminating the ground water supply and reducing air quality. But fracking proponents, including US President Barack Obama, argue that increased natural gas exploration could reduce America’s dependence on oil while creating thousands of jobs. Fracking has spread to other countries including Canada and others are considering the method to tap into natural gas reserves. So far, two EU countries – France and Bulgaria – have banned fracking, citing environmental and health concerns. America's fracking problem
The first experimental use of hydraulic fracturing was in 1947, and the first commercially successful applications were in 1949. As of 2012, 2.5 million hydraulic fracturing jobs have been performed on oil and gas wells worldwide, more than one million of them in the United States.
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