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What is fracking?
Fracking is the hydraulic fracturing of geological formations to release hydrocarbons. In other words, they shoot water and chemicals at high pressure into wells to crack the rock and get more oil and gas out. It's a technique used to extract 'unconventional' oil and gas which until recently were deemed too expensive or difficult to extract.
What's wrong with fracking?
Fracking has some very serious potential environmental impacts, of which groundwater contamination is the main problem. Groundwater contamination occurs because the hydraulic fluid used to fracture the rock contains toxic chemicals that can find their way into aquifers.
Also, the mobilisation of hydrocarbons can result in the release of various toxic naturally occurring chemicals that would otherwise be held in place. This is why there is a moratorium on fracking in many places around the world at the moment, including NSW, Quebec, parts of USA, and France.
Fracking in New Zealand
Fracking has already happened in Taranaki and has been proposed for other parts of the country, including the East Coast and Canterbury.
It's not well regulated by the Government at the moment because Regional Councils (who have limited resources and expertise) are charged with granting resource consents.
Fracking shouldn't happen until we know more about it and have a proper regulatory regime in place.
So request some postcards and let Minister Heatley know you don't want fracking in New Zealand!