Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fracking puts gas industry on the defensive

The public backlash against hydraulic fracturing is being felt throughout the oil and gas industry. "Protests across New York state have temporarily banned the practice," Steve Hargreaves of CNN reports. "Unfavorable coverage in the media and a scathing documentary film that was nominated this year for an Oscar also seem to have scared the industry." One gas company executive recently noted during a fracking discussion at a recent conference, "We've done a terrible job at getting our message out to the public. Now we're locked out of New York."

In fracking, which millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are injected into wells drilled into dense shale formations, releasing natural gas or oil. Critics worry that the process may taint drinking water sources. At the conference, sponsored by energy consultant IHS CERA in New York, the Oscar-nominated documentary "Gasland" and a recent fracking series by The New York Times both were mentioned as examples of poor publicity for the industry. Despite the increased focus on fracking, no representative from a drilling company that is fracking was included on the panel. "Typical," said one attendee from a water purification company. "Put the environmental guys in a room and let them talk to each other." (Read more)

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