Human Rights and the Business of Fracking
Human Rights and the Business of Fracking: Applying the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
to Hydraulic Fracturing
© The Center for Human Rights and Environment
CONSULTATION DRAFT: AUGUST 20, 2015
Our society is on a vertiginous race to maximize the exploitation of natural resources to feed our thirst for
material wealth. We are extracting natural resources at unabated rates, without considering many of the
permanent and irreversible social and environmental consequences of our actions. One of these
contentious races is the desire by many to meet our energy consumption needs through the exploration
of new ways to continue extracting and consuming fossil fuels. The principal industrial process proposed
for this expansion is a controversial method called hydraulic fracturing, now known to most simply as
fracking, a process by which we inject large volumes of water and chemicals into the ground to force fossil
fuels out of the geology.
Fracking brings with it many environmental concerns, including huge increases in water usage, as well as
the generation of voluminous quantities of contaminated effluent. Fracking has been proven to cause
severe air, land and water contamination and is today one of the driving forces of climate change.
This publication, published by the Center for Human Rights and Environment (CHRE), prepared after
extensive research, with valuable contributions from outside experts and targeting a general public that is
not necessarily expert in energy issues, but is eager to learn more about the fracking debate, explains in
laymen’s terms, what fracking is, how it works, and what are the risks of hydraulic fracturing to the
environment and to our very basic human condition. It is a tool to understand how fracking affects our
daily lives and how it can have dire consequences on our right to health, our right to water, our right to
property, our right to development and progress, and most importantly our right to a healthy
environment, and to the very basic and universal right to life.
It is the hope of the Center for Human Rights and Environment, that this publication will help shed light on
future discussions over fracking, so that as a global society we can be more responsible, so that we can
transcend ideological positions, and reach the social consensus that we need to forge a more sustainable
way forward on this very vulnerable planetary environment that we call home.