Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking,” is a drilling process used to extract underground oil or natural gas trapped in hard to reach shale rock formations deep in the earth. The process involves well construction, acquisition of source water, well “stimulation” by hydraulic fracturing, and waste disposal. Recent advancements in drilling technology have made significant shale gas formations newly accessible for development. As a result, natural gas production in the United States is at its highest level in over 30 years.

With the monumental increase in fracking activity in certain geographic regions, and the media and governmental attention focused on fracking’s actual and perceived risks, it was only a matter of time before litigation ensued involving those engaged in such activity and those impacted by such activity. The current and anticipated litigation has and will continue to have bearing on the insurance industry, raising numerous coverage and liability issues.

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