Thursday 14 January 2010
Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", is a system of drilling for gas pioneered by big energy companies in the US.
It entails dynamiting shale basins with a cocktail of toxic chemicals, whose effects on the water supply were concealed from homeowners induced to take the companies' six-figure sweetener. Josh Fox was one who refused the money, and instead went on the road – Pennsylvania, Colorado, Texas – to investigate the real cost of fracking. He finds severely ill people, balding animals, polluted rivers and, weirdest of all, kitchen tap water leaping with flames from the gas contamination. Fox's deadweight voiceover is the one downside in this cool examination of corporate greed and chicanery, which was ultimately sanctioned by – who else? – former Halliburton executive Dick Cheney. The environmental horrors caused by this type of gas extraction may not be America's problem alone; it is now destined for trials in Europe. Which is fracking scary.
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