Frack from Fiction: What is Fracking?

Start with a visual aid and a definition.

Hydraulic fracturing has entered our  vocabulary as a hotly contested topic, dished up daily through our national media.

Fracking is responsible for a huge economic boom through technology that significantly boosts the harvest of natural gas. Meanwhile, the process of hydraulic fracturing receives plenty of bad press for its potential to do lasting environmental damage.

Before taking up your own position on this controversial issue, you should begin with an understanding that “fracking” is not that epithet commonly heard on the hit scifi series Battlestar Galactica.

However, opponents of this hydraulic process often adopt the fictional definition to voice very real environmental concerns.

Make sure you don’t belong to that 63% of America who can’t actually explain this weird term. Once you can articulate the process, you’ll find plenty of ammo to support your position, regardless of where you stand on the controversy.

Big ups to TreeHugger for the original graphic below, and the content examining the environmental implications for  this method of harvesting natural gas.

For the record, U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce continues to advocate for renewable energy sources which don’t contribute to global warming or guarantee a legacy of so much environmental damage.


hydraulic fracturing

Fracking, the popular abbreviation for hydraulic fracturing, is a technique which injects highly-pressurized fluid into a well to split the rock and allow access to natural gas trapped within.

Energy companies, driven in no small part by dwindling reserves of easy-to-access fossil fuels, are increasingly turning to so-called unconventional sources of fossil fuels. Shale gas is one of these; and hydraulic fracturing promises to open up access to what is claimed to be vast to sources of natural gas, and profits.

National governments too, driven by a desire for greater energy independence, want access to these reserves of natural gas.

But big questions remain about the environmental safety of fracking: Will fracking cause more earthquakes? Will the chemicals used contaminate drinking water? What will be the impact on small farms? Does natural gas obtained by fracking have similar greenhouse gas emissions to other natural gas?

Energy companies downplay all of these concerns. Politicians focus on energy independence. Environmentalists urge caution. Whatever side you’re on, fracking is likely to remain an issue in the forefront of energy policy for some time.

7 comments on “Frack from Fiction: What is Fracking?

  1. Gee…..I wonder why? When Franking first hit the “so called” market, the Large Corp. targeted small, poor and yes, I will say it flat out – not well educated areas. They told them it was safe & showed them a check with lots of 000’s attached. The Big $ Corps. are acting like Fracking is going to solve all of our problems and get this Country off “Big Bad Oil” all the while who knows what they are REALLY doing to our water supply.

  2. Jay, Please contact me regarding use of the copyrighted image in this article (the first image on this page).

  3. Hi Jay, Please contact me at my email address and I will fill you in. Thank you!

  4. Jay, this image is being used without the copyright owner’s permission, and the copyright information was cropped out of the image intentionally.

    • Hi Tanya,

      I’ll review the image. I probably posted it from a Google search. Feel free to forward me that image and I’ll post and reference it properly. Otherwise, I’ll hunt it down with the uncropped copyright info.


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