This Week’s Report: “Fracking Controversy”

The natural gas industry has been under fire since the mid-2000s, when a controversial drilling method called hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – began to spread nationwide.

The technique involves injecting massive amounts of water, chemicals, sand and other material under high pressure into rock formations to release trapped gas. Critics charge that fracking fouls water wells and causes other unsafe conditions. This month the Environmental Protection Agency established the first scientific links between fracking and pollution of nearby drinking water. But industry officials say fracking is safe and efficient and is helping to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign energy sources.

Writer Daniel McGlynn delves deeply into the controversy in this week’s report, which provides rich background for classes, reports and debates dealing with environmental policy, energy development and government regulation.

--Thomas J. Billitteri, Managing Editor