photo: Marcellus Protest/Creative Commons
Based on media coverage of fracking and occasional state- and city-level opposing it, it certainly seems like awareness of the issue is growing--both its potential for producing massive amounts of natural gas and the serious potential environmental and health hazards of doing so. A new survey commissioned by the Civil Society Institute sheds some light on what people know about fracking and what their concerns are. Here are the main points:
- Just 44% of Americans were either very aware or somewhat aware of fracking at all, with a further 13% of people saying they were not very aware. 45% of people had no awareness whatsoever about fracking.
- Of those 57% of people who had heard of fracking, 69% of them were very or somewhat concerned about the impact on water quality of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
- If a fracking project is or would be proposed for areas close to where respondents live, concern rises: 73% of people would be very concerned or somewhat concerned if a nearby proposed project had "even a small chance that it could have an impact on...drinking water." 69% of people in such a situation would be very or somewhat likely to get involved in community action around such a project.
- 72% of people surveyed supported prioritizing water quality and supply over energy production, should they come into conflict. They supported the following statement from CSI: "When it comes to energy production that requires large amounts of water or where water quality is in jeopardy as a result of the energy production, my vote would be for coming down on the side of the public's health and the environment. We should favor cleaner energy sources that use the least water and involve the lowest possible risk to the public and environment."
21% of people favored policy that prioritized energy production over water quality when they are in conflict.
Interestingly, while about 80% of Democrats and Independents supported clean water over energy, just 62% of Republicans thought clean water was more important than more energy production.
- Regarding "tighter public disclosure requirements as well as studies of the health and environmental consequences of the chemicals used in natural gas drilling," 49% of people surveyed would strongly support this and 29% somewhat support this. Just 16% were opposed to greater disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking.
- Are state and federal officials adequately addressing fracking? 42% of respondents said they aren't "doing as much as they should" and 14% said they aren't "doing anything at all."
Here's the original survey: "Fracking" and Clean Water: A Survey of Americans
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