The Victorian government has taken the enormous step of banning fracking in the state, to the cheers of environmentalists, farmers and those living in rural areas.

But what is fracking, exactly? “Fracking involves drilling deep underground and pumping water, sand and safe chemicals to fracture the rocks that trap huge gas supplies,” explains noted environmental scientist Andrew Bolt. Oh wait no, that is loudmouth News Corp columnist and climate change denier Andrew Bolt.

Dr Dominic DiGiulio, who is a visiting lecturer at Stanford University and was formerly employed by the Environmental Protection Agency, is an actual environmental scientist. He published a study in peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology proving that fracking has a harmful effect on the environment and humans. “We showed that groundwater contamination occurred as a result of hydraulic fracturing,” he said.

And those “safe chemicals” described by Bolt? Here is Scientific American on one of them: “One such chemical was methanol. The simplest alcohol, it can trigger permanent nerve damage and blindness in humans when consumed in sufficient quantities.” Other chemicals, according to an in-depth Vanity Fair investigation into fracking, include: “enzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, boric acid, monoethanolamine, xylene, diesel-range organics, methanol, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid, ammonium bisulfite, 2-butoxyethanol, and 5-chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazotin-3-one”. Feel free to look those up and let us — or Dr Bolt — know if you think they belong in your drinking water.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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