Magazine June 20, 2011, Issue

The Fracas about Fracking

Chevron fracking site near Midland, Texas, August 22, 2019 (Jessica Lutz/Reuters)
Low risk, high reward—but the EPA is against it

A major boom in domestic oil and gas production is under way, brought about by breakthrough refinements of a 1940s technology known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping water, sand, and some trace chemicals under high pressure into a completed wellbore to create fissures in relatively impermeable geologic formations such as shale. The fissures allow oil or natural gas to flow into the well. The sand props the fissures open, preventing the resealing of pathways. Combined with horizontal drilling at depths of one to more than two miles below the earth’s surface, hydraulic fracturing has unlocked vast stores

To Read the Full Story
Kathleen Hartnett White — Ms. White is director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. She previously served, for six years, as chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the second-largest environmental regulatory agency in the world.

In This Issue



Special Energy Section

Books, Arts & Manners



Do the Jefferson

Too many tourists, too much traffic noise, swampy D.C. weather, the occasional grunt and scream as the cops tackle people for illegal Monument Dancing.


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