Canada’s Fraser Institute has published a Research Bulletin following a review of recent research into the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing. In Managing the Risks of Hydraulic Fracturing: An Update, the argument is made that although there are indeed risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, they are for the most part readily manageable with available technologies and best practices.

The Fraser Institute reviewed the state of research around five areas of risk:

  • risks to surface and groundwater;
  • risks of well integrity and fracturing induced stress;
  • risks of water loss;
  • risks to air quality; and
  • risk of induced seismicity.

The Fraser Institute concluded that calls for bans and moratoria against fracking were not grounded in a reasonable interpretation of what the literature says about the risks. The Fraser Institute suggests that policymakers should ignore the siren song of the simplistic solution.  They argue that bans and moratoria may make it seem like one is taking action against risk, but they are not – they simply defer those risks to a later date, if and when activity resumes, which, given the vast economic potential of shale gas and oil in Canada, it most likely will.

The Fraser Institute is an independent think tank that research’s government actions and recommends public policy solutions.

A copy of the Fraser Institute’s Research Bulletin can be found here.