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May 16th, 2011
If you follow the oil and gas industry at all, you've no doubt been reading about hydraulic facturing. The practice, more commonly known as "fracking," is used to extract pockets of gas and oil by pumping water, sand, and chemicals under high pressure into shale beds that were previously considered useless. The technique has been in use in the U.S. since the 1990s and has become increasingly popular. Controversy, however, surrounds fracking, with claims that it is contaminating groundwater. Fracking has caused considerable debate in the U.S., with loud voices on either side of the debate. On one side are concerns for health and the environment, while the other side points to fracking as a useful technique of extracting gas and oil that would otherwise be out of reach. One of the main problems in the debate, however, is that the facts on both sides are often twisted. An article that recently appeared on FuelFix.com points to the high pitch of the debate and the often less-than-accurate supporting arguments. The argument also has reached abroad. Just last week, the French expressed that they were hesitant to begin using the technique, in light of the claims of water contamination. You can read more about the debate in France here in a New York Times article. As the debate rages on, journalism students at New York University put together a short music video to explain the basics of the argument, which you can view in the video panel to the right. While the video only skims the surface with simplified explanations, FuelFix.com notes in a review that in two and half minutes, the students manage to cover the debate fairly well without leaning to either side of the debate (isn't that what true journalism is about?). And they also manage to bring a little fun and musical entertainment to an otherwise not so enjoyable debate.