Video: Reason asks, “What the frack is going on?”

posted at 2:05 pm on June 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Have you heard The Fracking Song? It asks, “What the frack is going on with all this fracking going on? I think we need some facts to come to light.” Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie decides to answer the call by looking into complaints about hydraulic fracturing, a technique that promises to unleash vast and heretofore unknown reserves of oil and natural gas that could keep Americans producing energy independently for centuries. The problems mainly associated with fracking don’t come from the technique used to open the wells, but from the kind of well maintenance that has to occur regardless of which technology and methodology explorers employ to find and extract oil and gas:

Fracking has been around for more than 60 years and over 100,000 gas wells are dug per year, most of them in sparsely populated areas in the western U.S. With the discovery of the Marcellus Shale in the eastern part of the country, fracking is increasingly common in populated parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, leading to heightened tensions between drillers and environmentalists. Indeed, the attorney general of New York has called for a moratorium on the practice in the Empire State.

Is fracking safe? And what are the potential benefits that will be forfeited if the practice is ended? Reason’s Nick Gillespie sat down with science correspondent Ronald Bailey to learn the truth about fracking. Bailey reports that the cases of contaminated water supplies were the result of poorly designed wells that had nothing to do with fracking itself. As important, he notes that the gas generated by fracking would not only massively increase American energy supply, it would do so with a relatively clean and cheap fuel.

The problem with fracking isn’t that it’s particularly new or dangerous. The methodology has been in use for decades, and it is as safe as other drilling processes. The real problem is that it could produce relatively cheap hydrocarbon energy for a very long time, and that’s what has environmentalists worried.

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NIMBY in action, much like windmill technology is so awesome, up until the day that the actual installation of the windmill begins.

Vashta.Nerada on June 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Fracking will cause volcanoes to erupt in major American cities, why do you people hate cities?

Bishop on June 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

I was wondering why I’ve been seeing so many “urgent” Facebook posts and action alert e-mails on fracking. Environutters are in a panic.

myrenovations on June 28, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Fracking will cause volcanoes to erupt in major American cities, why do you people hate cities?

Bishop on June 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Please frack Chicago.

Knucklehead on June 28, 2011 at 2:13 PM

I would think the left would love fracking, its a whole new revenue source for their racketeering operations.

rob verdi on June 28, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Is this something Ellis Wyatt invented?

promachus on June 28, 2011 at 2:14 PM

It doesn’t matter. The world ends in 2012 anyway.

BobMbx on June 28, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Yes, but will fracking ever replace the use of botox?

Rovin on June 28, 2011 at 2:15 PM

NY once again drives dollars out of its state. Amazing.

hawksruleva on June 28, 2011 at 2:15 PM

I love the fact that greenies have been desperate to push high oil prices as a means to push green energy, and the inadvertent side affect was to create whole new avenues of fossil fuel extraction profitable instead.

rob verdi on June 28, 2011 at 2:16 PM

If two guys were fracking the same well…

… would that be gay?

/

Seven Percent Solution on June 28, 2011 at 2:16 PM

The problem with fracking isn’t that it’s particularly new or dangerous. The methodology has been in use for decades, and it is as safe as other drilling processes. The real problem is that it could produce relatively cheap hydrocarbon energy for a very long time, and that’s what has environmentalists worried.

You’re right, Ed. We all know how zealously the environmentalists guard against threats to their precious fairy dust and unicorn farts industries.

backwoods conservative on June 28, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Yes, but will fracking ever replace the use of botox?
Rovin on June 28, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Sure, and it will be available in a handy do-it-yourself kit so you can go frack yourself in the comfort of your own living room.

Bishop on June 28, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Please frack Chicago.

Knucklehead on June 28, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Hey! I live within fracking distance of Chicago.

Tommy_G on June 28, 2011 at 2:18 PM

I heard that fracking can get girls pregnant, so lock up your daughters!

John Deaux on June 28, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Sounds like Battlestar Galatica is coming back on TV.

Oil Can on June 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM

I’m all for it. Our family owns land in Wyoming and we just signed a 2 year lease for this type of drilling. DRILL BABY DRILL!!!!!

milwife88 on June 28, 2011 at 2:22 PM

If you own your own well…

… would you be fracking yourself?

/

Seven Percent Solution on June 28, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Hey! I live within fracking distance of Chicago.

Tommy_G on June 28, 2011 at 2:18 PM

So do I. Get the frack out while you can.

Knucklehead on June 28, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Please frack Chicago.

Knucklehead on June 28, 2011 at 2:13 PM

And Los Angeles.

OT, hasn’t the ACLU gotten around to suing LA to change its name. The Angels, even if in Spanish, sure sounds like an endorsement of religion.

rbj on June 28, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Is this something Ellis Wyatt invented?

promachus on June 28, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Yes, it’s in preparation for Wyatt’s Torch…

Battlecruiser-operational on June 28, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Fracking is racist, that’s why the Right wants it.

mankai on June 28, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Fracking will clearly kill off the population of unicorns. You have to be fracking crazy to want to kill off the unicorns!

search4truth on June 28, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Read Tea Party Kama Sutra, the Illustrated Guide to Fracking

faraway on June 28, 2011 at 2:26 PM

NIMBY in action

In PA, most of the NIMBY is coming from the southeastern part of the state where the treehuggers are, not the shale region. Folks there are generally very supportive, because it’s heating up the economy of a rural region that needs the jobs and the spending.

albo on June 28, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Simple: the left wants America to send it’s wealth to 3rd world hellholes, thus the fanatical opposition to all productive energy extraction here. It’s a deliberate policy to keep us weak and dependent.

Rebar on June 28, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Can we sign a petition to have Obama frack himself?

search4truth on June 28, 2011 at 2:29 PM

The real problem is that it could produce relatively cheap hydrocarbon energy for a very long time, and that’s what has environmentalists worried.

Yes, the enviroweenies and the other leftists who use environmentalist scams to redistribute our property and rob us of liberty.

petefrt on June 28, 2011 at 2:29 PM

I love how those “new” to oil and gas production go ape $#!t over the “environmental impact! I live in rural East Texas right next to a national forest. There are oil wells all over these woods, a major pipeline less than 3 miles away, and once in a while, a new drilling rig shows up to put in a new well. And still it’s almost undetectable unless you know exactly where it is. This place looks like a rain forest.

cartooner on June 28, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Lefty monsters du jour: Koch brothers, fracking, Scott Walker, Michelle Bachmann, Breitbart….

The lefties are simple creatures whose hate is easily directed.

juliesa on June 28, 2011 at 2:31 PM

We just need to let Barney Frank know that there are strong, chiseled men with sweaty bodies doing all the fracking and we will be rolling in gas revenue in no time…

Seven Percent Solution on June 28, 2011 at 2:33 PM

The world may be heading for Hades’ in a hand basket, but at least we have a new set of euphemisms

First Weiner, now Fracking

As in What the Frack?

NMRN123 on June 28, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Interesting vid. Thanks for posting, Ed.

MeatHeadinCA on June 28, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Frackenomics

faraway on June 28, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Have they been said?

Frack here, Frack now!

Frack, baby, Frack!

BuckeyeSam on June 28, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Just message it as Same Sex Fracking – and it will pass in NY.

Odie1941 on June 28, 2011 at 2:40 PM

OT, hasn’t the ACLU gotten around to suing LA to change its name. The Angels, even if in Spanish, sure sounds like an endorsement of religion.

rbj on June 28, 2011 at 2:24 PM

They’re worried about alienating Hispanics.

BuckeyeSam on June 28, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Those evil hydrocarbons! I’ll bet if you took their picture with a scanning electron microscope they’d look like a bunch of little Hitlers running around…or worse, billions of tiny GW’s.

Extrafishy on June 28, 2011 at 2:43 PM

It doesn’t require Union manufacturing or dependence on Chinese imports.

darclon on June 28, 2011 at 2:43 PM

A little fracking never hurt anybody.

ElectricPhase on June 28, 2011 at 2:43 PM

The environmentalists are being driven to disfracktion.

backwoods conservative on June 28, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Frack Ernesto.

Akzed on June 28, 2011 at 2:45 PM

One of Mr. Twerp’s clients runs a frack sand business-really.
Because of all the business the client gives the RR-Mr. Twerp considers this gentleman to be one big fracking deal!

annoyinglittletwerp on June 28, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Hmmm…

My house is sitting right on top of that shale, and we’ve been thinking about moving…

Hmmm…

wearyman on June 28, 2011 at 2:46 PM

I just don’t give a flying frack about all y’all today.

annoyinglittletwerp on June 28, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Not so much NIMBY as BANANA – Build Absolutely Nothing, Anywhere, Near Anything.

NeighborhoodCatLady on June 28, 2011 at 2:48 PM

I have a well going in my back yard. They are going to be fracking at 10,000 feet. My water well is at 120 feet. Somehow I don’t think that event taking place 2 miles from my well are going to have any significant effect. If they do, I would prefer to have the royalty. I can figure out how to get water later.

This is all part of Obama’s attempt to destroy the country. He is doing a good job.

davidcaskey on June 28, 2011 at 2:49 PM

As important, he notes that the gas generated by fracking would not only massively increase American energy supply, it would do so with a relatively clean and cheap fuel.

And the sooner the US can replace coal with natural gas, the better. Within 5 years you’ll see a number of major trucking companies replace gas engines with compressed natural gas ones. Oil prices are only going higher, that’s clear.

This is one area where environmentalists and conservatives can agree- natural gas is cleaner and reduces our dependence on Hugo and the Arabs.

foreverright on June 28, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Not so much NIMBY as BANANA – Build Absolutely Nothing, Anywhere, Near Anything.

NeighborhoodCatLady on June 28, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Very good!

annoyinglittletwerp on June 28, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Fracking makes me think of Battlestar Galactica personally. Maybe we need to be sending Cylons to drill for natural gas….

jeffn21 on June 28, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Fracking makes me think of Battlestar Galactica personally. Maybe we need to be sending Cylons to drill for natural gas….

jeffn21 on June 28, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Nah, just send them after the Eco-freaks.

wearyman on June 28, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Why don’t they just pump money into the ground instead of water & sand. Would that make the dems & environazis happy?

Tc0061 on June 28, 2011 at 2:52 PM

I love how those “new” to oil and gas production go ape $#!t over the “environmental impact! I live in rural East Texas right next to a national forest. There are oil wells all over these woods, a major pipeline less than 3 miles away, and once in a while, a new drilling rig shows up to put in a new well. And still it’s almost undetectable unless you know exactly where it is. This place looks like a rain forest.

cartooner on June 28, 2011 at 2:31 PM

I knew a gal who was a pretty rabid enviroweenie until she had to take a job with an oil company. They sent her to Prudhoe Bay and she was just certain she was going to return with all sorts of horror stories about the evil oil environment-rapers. She came back with eyes open, alright, actually praising the oil company for their clean drilling practices. She said they left no trace they had been there. (it wasn’t BP)

itsacookbook on June 28, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Confirmed: The Left rejects realistic energy independence for our country.

Why?

visions on June 28, 2011 at 2:54 PM

I just don’t give a flying frack about all y’all today.

annoyinglittletwerp on June 28, 2011 at 2:47 PM

“all y’all”? Are you from Texas?

itsacookbook on June 28, 2011 at 2:57 PM

“How much more study is required?” (in regards to fracking)

I don’t like hearing that. It’s the same tactic as the environmentalists saying the “science is settled” on global warming.

I’m sure the vast majority of Americans are fine with expanded energy exploration, but please be very cautious when insisting the science is settled. Any true scientist understands very few scientific theories ever become law, and even then they may eventually be disproved.

scotash on June 28, 2011 at 2:59 PM

I love how those “new” to oil and gas production go ape $#!t over the “environmental impact! I live in rural East Texas right next to a national forest. There are oil wells all over these woods, a major pipeline less than 3 miles away, and once in a while, a new drilling rig shows up to put in a new well. And still it’s almost undetectable unless you know exactly where it is. This place looks like a rain forest.

cartooner on June 28, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Amen. My dad’s place is in east Texas and “rain forest” is right. There are wells and gas pipelines everywhere, but you don’t see many of them from the public roads due to the thick underbrush.

txsurveyor on June 28, 2011 at 2:59 PM

I’m sure the vast majority of Americans are fine with expanded energy exploration, but please be very cautious when insisting the science is settled. Any true scientist understands very few scientific theories ever become law, and even then they may eventually be disproved.

scotash on June 28, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Pull your head out of the sand. That is nowhere near true and I’d be willing to bet you are one of them.

VegasRick on June 28, 2011 at 3:03 PM

“all y’all”? Are you from Texas?

itsacookbook on June 28, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Not originally-we moved here from the So. Chicago ‘Burbs in April-but we got here as fast as we could. LoL

annoyinglittletwerp on June 28, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Hmmm…

My house is sitting right on top of that shale, and we’ve been thinking about moving…

Hmmm…

wearyman on June 28, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Do you own the mineral rights under your property? If so, you should check out the likelihood of that area being productive before selling out.

juliesa on June 28, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Fracking will cause volcanoes to erupt in major American cities, why do you people hate cities?

Bishop on June 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Earthquakes. It’s earthquakes. Just ask the crazies in Ft. Worth.

gitarfan on June 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Earthquakes. It’s earthquakes. Just ask the crazies in Ft. Worth.

gitarfan on June 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM

I do believe you are referring to the crazies in Cleburne.

itsacookbook on June 28, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Took a peek at wiki to see what the panic is. Apparently, it’s “carcinogenic chemicals”. Again.

Count to 10 on June 28, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Confirmed: The Left rejects realistic energy independence for our country.

Why?

visions on June 28, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Because they can’t find a way to Nationalize the industry.

ericdijon on June 28, 2011 at 3:22 PM

@annoyinglittletwerp

Welcome and congratulations on using the correct form of “y’all.”

itsacookbook on June 28, 2011 at 3:25 PM

This was a routine procedure in West Virginia, when I was a kid in the 60s. However, at that time all the companies that did it spelled the word “frac.”

Where the frack did the “k” come from??

TugboatPhil on June 28, 2011 at 3:27 PM

You can frac, but if you are fracking without a ‘k’ then people might not get it.

Count to 10 on June 28, 2011 at 3:31 PM

“How much more study is required?” (in regards to fracking)

I don’t like hearing that. It’s the same tactic as the environmentalists saying the “science is settled” on global warming.

I agree we shouldn’t adopt environmentalist’s tactics, but the engineering, at least, is settled on fracking – and I think that is what the video was intended to show.

Knott Buyinit on June 28, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Couldn’t they think of a better name for this?

But until then I say, let the fracking begin!

Sterling Holobyte on June 28, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Well the pedantic part of me wants to point out that you frack a well and frak your wife (Well unless you’re from the ’70′s), but face it, to the sci-fi geek the entire thing is frakking funny.

The_Livewire on June 28, 2011 at 3:54 PM

If you like your Fracking you can keep your Fracking.

docflash on June 28, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Add to the list of green jobs

Kini on June 28, 2011 at 4:18 PM

T-shirt or bumper sticker?

“Fracking gives you gas.”

Yoop on June 28, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Couldn’t they think of a better name for this?

But until then I say, let the fracking begin!

Sterling Holobyte on June 28, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Derived from hydrofracturing or hydraulic fracturing. As pointed out above it was originally shortened to frac or fracing.

Yoop on June 28, 2011 at 4:28 PM

I have a well going in my back yard. They are going to be fracking at 10,000 feet. My water well is at 120 feet. Somehow I don’t think that event taking place 2 miles from my well are going to have any significant effect. If they do, I would prefer to have the royalty. I can figure out how to get water later.

This is all part of Obama’s attempt to destroy the country. He is doing a good job.

davidcaskey on June 28, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Gas in your water is easily separated out for use, and a good filter setup should take care of any other problems of poorly constructed well casings.

If only I could be that lucky.

Slowburn on June 28, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Fracking will cause volcanoes to erupt in major American cities, why do you people hate cities?

Bishop on June 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Because cities are where the crime and corrupt politicians hang out. Think of the volcanoes as natural cleansing agents!!!

/sarc>

landlines on June 28, 2011 at 11:15 PM

This was a routine procedure in West Virginia, when I was a kid in the 60s. However, at that time all the companies that did it spelled the word “frac.”

Where the frack did the “k” come from??

TugboatPhil on June 28, 2011 at 3:27 PM

The ‘k’ is for kinetic. It’s all the rage now.

Hey I know, let’s call it a ‘kinetic gas retrieval method’ Then we can ignore all the laws on it. It worked for Libya…

The_Livewire on June 29, 2011 at 10:13 AM

I live in PA and most people love the money they are getting from the gas company. My brother is getting $6700 a year from the gas company and all he owns is a couple of acres or so. A woman from my church is pretty upset because she said they ruined her daughters water. She says she noticed the water smelled real bad and called the gas company. I think she said they then had the water tested and it has some kind of harmful chemicals in it or something. According to her, the gas company is being all lazy and slow about resolving the issue and insists they had nothing to do with it but she is convinced that the water was fine before they started drilling.

NeverLiberal on June 29, 2011 at 12:23 PM

The problem with fracking isn’t that it’s particularly new or dangerous. The methodology has been in use for decades, and it is as safe as other drilling processes. The real problem is that it could produce relatively cheap hydrocarbon energy for a very long time, and that’s what has environmentalists worried.

Nailed it!

woodNfish on June 29, 2011 at 3:58 PM