In hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” miners pump pressurized liquid composed of sand and chemicals into the earth to free up gas and oil. It’s a real moneymaker. Environmentalists claim that such practices contaminate groundwater with salts and radioactive chemicals, turning what comes out of faucets into toxic waste. In some places in the U.S., you can even light tap water on fire.
As part of our collaboration with MSNBC, Vocativ went to central Pennsylvania, which is adding fracking wells to its landscape at a rate three times faster than the national average. There we found executives and politicians campaigning on behalf of hydraulic fracturing by drinking fracking fluid—the liquid that miners pump into the ground—in front of large crowds to prove its safety.