Fracking refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formation and into the wellbore, from where it can be extracted.The controversial use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” that is behind the USAs natural gas boom has come under scrutiny in the new Hollywood drama “Promised Land” with Matt Damon . This film met stiff resistance in New York state, where a four-year moratorium against the process could soon expire.
Supporters say fracking is essential to U.S. energy independence, a way to revitalize depressed rural areas with new mining jobs and gas projects. But opponents warn that hundreds of millions of gallons of chemically treated water used in the process will pollute drinking water supplies and agricultural fields. New research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado say methane — a potent greenhouse gas — may be escaping from gas sites at much higher rates than previously thought.
Anyway, fracking has resulted in many oil and gas wells attaining a state of economic viability, due to the level of extraction that can be reached. Actually, petroleum engineers have used fracking as a means of increasing well production since the late 1940s. Fractures can also exist naturally in formations, and both natural and man-made fractures can be widened by fracking. As a result, more oil and gas can be extracted from a given area of land.
To dive into this firestorm of debate, Democracy Now host a debate with two supporters of fracking, and two opponents. We are joined by Kate Hudson,Watershed Program Director at Riverkeeper: New York’s Clean Water Advocate; Phelim McAleer, a filmmaker who produced a pro-fracking documentary called “FrackNation”; Daniel Simmons, Director of State of Regulatory Affairs at the Institute for Energy Research; and Mayor Matt Ryan of Binghamton, New York, who is a former professor of environmental law and outspoken opponent of fracking.
To watch the second part of the debate click here.
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