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What is hydraulic fracturing?

If you own land in California, you may at some point be approached by a company wanting to drill for oil or gas. Some companies may pitch the idea of hydraulic fracturing, or as it is more commonly called, fracking. While you have probably heard this term, you may not know exactly what it means or if you should allow it on your property. 

According to Western Land Services, fracking involves opening up natural fractures in the rock to release trapped gas or oil. Chemicals sand and water are mixed and pumped into the ground to open the fractures. If you are approached by a company for use of your land for hydraulic fracturing, you may be offered a lease, which usually extends a time period in which the company has to find oil or gas. If they find the product, a second part of the contract kicks in and you may have the company there for many years until the supply runs out.

If you are like many people, you may wonder if this process is safe. While it may seem like it is a new process since it has been in the news recently, it actually has been used since the 1940s. The only issues since the beginning have been with failures in well casings and surface spills, neither directly related to the actual fracking process. So, in short, it is a safe as any other process for extracting oil and gas from beneath the surface. This information is for education and is not legal advice. 

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