A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Drink Up: The Great Shale Debate Worth A Look

If you've been watching a lot of CNN to keep track of Hurricane Irene, you've probably viewed ads from the American Petroleum Institute promoting hydraulic fracturing. You may have seen their full page ads in the newspaper as well.  API, a lobby group for the oil industry, tells us repeatedly that underground shale reserves are the one great energy hope for America and we should support their exploitation. If you value your drinking water, you may want to think twice.

Hydraulic fracturing, nicknamed fracking, retrieves valuable energy resources by injecting water and chemicals deep into the ground and forcing them out through displacement and pressure. Environmentalists are roundly unhappy with fracking, which they claim has spoiled ground water and presents all sorts of environmental hazards. The process is under review by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and disclosure issues are being reviewed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to The Wall Street Journal.

Keep in mind that API is attempting to influence your opinion through this barrage of advertising. Who knows how much their lobbyists pay our members of Congress to influence their opinions? One way or another, the oil industry wants access to these vast resources and is willing to pay for the privilege to do so.

Be sure to do your homework on this complicated issue so you can come to your own conclusions. Take some time and review the resources at What's Fracking?, a page associated with HBO's promotion of its documentary Gasland The Movie. You can listen to an interview of the film's director, Josh Fox, by Fresh Air's Terry Gross. The New York Times has a fair review of the issues at hand in its article Baffled About Fracking? You're Not Alone. Likewise, Businessweek's Fracking: The Great Shale Rush is worth looking at. NPR's Morning Edition says a Department of Energy panel is also looking at fracking. These people are all exploring this issue. You should too.


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