What is fracking? It is a way of getting gas or oil from inside rock, deep underground. Mining companies break the rock using water.
This week, the Commissioner for the Environment gave a report on fracking in New Zealand. She said that the mining companies which are doing this at the moment in New Zealand are doing it carefully. It is one way for New Zealand to produce more gas and oil to help the economy. New Zealand has some gas and oil, which is produced by drilling, but not a lot.
However, overseas, there have been problems with drinking water tasting of chemicals after fracking. Another worry is that fracking could cause small earthquakes. The Commissioner said that for this reason, it was probably not a good idea to use fracking where there are fault lines. She said that councils in each region should decide if they want to give permission for fracking.
She will write another report next year which gives rules for mining companies to follow in the future.
• fracking – hydraulic (using water) fracturing (breaking, making cracks in the rock)
• Commissioner for the Environment – the job of a commissioner for the environment is to research an environmental problem and advise the government
• drilling – a drill reaches an oil well and brings up the oil
• fault lines – where earthquakes can occur
• region – large area like a province