Opposition to the controversial oil drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — has risen sharply this year, according to new findings released Thursday by Pew Research Center.
Nearly half of Americans — 49 percent — said they are opposed to fracking, which uses a high-pressure combination of water and chemicals to extract oil and gas from underground rock formations, while 44 percent said they support the technique. In March, 48 percent said they supported fracking while 38 percent said they were opposed.
Opponents to fracking argue that the method risks contamination of underground water supplies. A recent study conducted by the University of Texas that was financed by nine petroleum companies indicated that fracking causes smaller leaks of methane than previous government estimates had suggested.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill into law last week that will impose regulations on fracking done in the state.