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Opposition to fracking mounts in U.S., Republicans abandoning idea

Staff writer ▼ | April 1, 2016
Opposition to the practice of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" has increased significantly in the past year as environmental concerns, such as earthquakes, have grown.
Fracking
Hydraulic fracturing   Fracking now accounts for half of the oil production
In the past year, the price of oil has fluctuated between roughly $25 and $60 per barrel, a staggering drop from its peak of around $120 in mid-2014, Gallup says.

One major reason the price of this commodity has remained so low is fracking, which now accounts for half of the oil production in the U.S. As recently as 2000, fracking made up only 2% of the nation's oil output.

In Gallup's 2016 Environment survey, conducted March 2-6, Americans have a clearer position on fracking than they did a year ago. Last year, 40% said they favored fracking and 40% were opposed, with a substantial 19% not knowing about or having no opinion on fracking.

In 2016, support for fracking has slipped to 36%, while opposition has climbed to 51%. The percentage of Americans with no opinion has dropped to 13%, perhaps as the term becomes more commonplace in the culture, or as the media has more extensively covered the arguments for and against fracking.

Americans' turn against fracking comes as the percentage predicting there will be a critical energy shortage in the next five years has fallen to a new low, likely because of lower gas prices.

With oil and gas relatively cheap, many Americans may not see the need to fracture the earth through fracking. Lower oil and gas prices may also be the reason a majority of Americans are opposed to nuclear energy for the first time.

Additionally, more people would like to prioritize alternative energy over traditional energy sources. Fracking, while a relatively new way to extract oil, is still a means of harnessing fossil-fuel energy, helping explain why Americans may be growing averse to it.

Republicans had the biggest drop in support for fracking, falling from 66% support in 2015 to 55% this year.

Still, Republicans' support for fracking far exceeds support among independents (34%) and Democrats (25%). Views among the last two groups are essentially unchanged from last year.


 

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