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The Harms and Crimes of Fracking

Lampkin, Jack ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5104-8758 (2023) The Harms and Crimes of Fracking. In: Oxford Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Oxford University Press

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A plethora of academic research into fracking for shale gas suggests the practice leads to a variety of social and environmental harms and crimes. Social harms involve the impacts that fracking has on the lives of local communities that adopt fracking. This involves the impact of “boom-and-bust” cycles on communities, the adverse impacts of fracking activities on property values, the impact of corporate financial bribery on physical and mental health, and other disturbances such as heavy truck traffic, dust, noise, and light pollutions. Environmental harms include the ability of fracking to create earthquakes, the potential contamination of natural water systems, problems around the creation and disposal of hazardous wastewaters, and the climatic impacts of flaring and venting waste gases. Fracking is also directly linked to crime in a myriad of different ways, including through crimes of the powerful, consequential crimes, and indirect crimes. Crimes of the powerful include fraud, corruption, and the violation of environmental laws and regulations. Consequential crimes are a by-product of fracking exploration and production, such as protest-related crimes and state crimes. Conversely, indirect crimes are committed as a result of fracking activity. This includes street-level crimes, violent crimes, and domestic assaults, all of which are found in higher prevalence in locales that experience fracking operations compared to those that do not. Overall, prospective governments and policy-makers should carefully weigh any potential economic benefits of fracking with the possible ensuing social and environmental harms and crimes the process produces prior to legislating in favor of the process.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264079.013.768
School/Department: School of Humanities
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7476

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