The Five 'Ws' Of Fracking

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Inglewood Oil Field is closely surrounded by a community of 300,000 people.

Everyone seems to be talking about Fracking these days, and the inherent dangers the practice poses to our water, air, wildlife and climate. But do any of us really know WHAT Fracking is, WHERE and WHEN it is done, WHO is doing it, WHY it is so terrible? An informed citizenry is best able to protect our community's health and welfare. So read on for the answers to these five basic questions...

WHAT IS FRACKING?

Hydraulic Fracturing, or Fracking, is a controversial drilling practice that involves blasting huge amounts of water, mixed with sand and toxic chemicals, deep into the ground at very high pressure. Fracking is done to break up rock formations in hopes of accessing hidden pockets of oil and gas.

WHERE AND WHEN IS FRACKING BEING DONE?

Fracking is practiced throughout California, as well as near our coast in the ocean. In Baldwin Hills, the technique has been used at Inglewood Oil Field, which is the largest urban oil field in the country, closely surrounded by a community of 300,000 people.

WHO ARE THE FRACKERS?

Plains Exploration & Production Company recently merged with Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold to become Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas. According to their website, Freeport-McMoRan’s oil and gas operations are located onshore and offshore in California, the Gulf Coast Region, the Gulf of Mexico and the Rocky Mountains. The oil and gas division is headquartered in Houston.

WHY IS FRACKING SO DANGEROUS?

The many dangers of Fracking to the health and environment of our community are detailed in the Center For Biological Diversity’s California Fracking FAQ. They include contaminating our water supply, polluting our air, worsening the effects of climate change and threatening our wildlife, especially some of our native endangered species.

 The last, and most important ‘W’ question is WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT FRACKING?

Baldwin Hills Oil Watch has an action center and a resource guide on their site. Councilmember Bernard C. Parks supports a ban on Fracking in Los Angeles and recently got a motion passed that strengthens the weak ban that is already in place. You can also contact Governor Jerry Brown and demand a statewide ban on Fracking. 

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