WASHINGTON (Sept. 16. 2015) – A review of the literature on commonly cited environmental hazards of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” demonstrates that the process’ economic benefits far outweigh the risks, according to a new policy brief published today by the R Street Institute.

In the brief, R Street Texas Director Josiah Neeley examines the substantial economic impact of fracking, which has led to declines in residential natural-gas bills of $13 billion per year and contributed $283 billion to U.S. gross domestic product in 2012 alone. He also looks at studies of fracking’s potential impact on the climate, emissions, air quality and water quality and availability.

“Every source of energy has its advantages and drawbacks,” Neeley writes. “Fracked natural gas has supplanted significant amounts of coal electricity, delivering low-cost electricity with half the levels of greenhouse-gas emissions.”

Neeley finds that reported cases of fracking actually having negative impacts on air and water quality are rare and inconsistent, and pose less significant threats than exposure to high levels of ozone, particulates and other emissions from more emissions-intensive fuel sources.

“While fracking can pose environmental challenges, these can be managed via appropriate regulation and oversight,” he said.

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