Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2017

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is the extraction of natural gas from deep within the earth through invasive drilling. This thesis explores the history of fracking, the geopolitical motivations for fracking in Pennsylvania, and the health risks associated with working and living near the sites. Seen within the context of the history and availability of our nation’s natural resources, represents for energy companies an opportunity to extract large quantities of natural gas, yet these companies express contempt for citizens who suffer from the polluting effects of this industry and do not receive compensation. As for the geopolitics, there are evident geographical and political reasons why some parts of the nation have received more attention and contention regarding the usage of their land for fracking sites. Organizations like the PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center have put out annual reports and post current news on the fracking done in Pennsylvania with its disastrous effects on the earth and its inhabitants. The Center for Coalfeld Justice is an organization based in Pennsylvania that works to educate and provoke change within Pennsylvanian communities. Together, the history, geopolitics, and public health aspects of fracking challenge its validity as a sustainable practice for extracting and using natural resources as it robs the land, the people, and the atmosphere with pollution.