The United States is in the midst of a natural gas boom
— about 200,000 gas wells have been drilled in the past decade. The
boom has been fueled by the use of hydraulic fracturing — or fracking —
which involves pumping a mixture of water and chemicals into the ground
to get access to the gas.
The rush to extract
natural gas has helped the economy pick up in places like Pennsylvania,
but it also has raised questions that scientists can’t yet answer about
potential health and environmental problems.
Some argue that the benefits of the natural gas
boom outweigh the risks, but others say no fracking way. A group of
experts took on that dispute in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S.
debate, held at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. They faced off
two against two in an Oxford-style debate on the motion: “The Natural
Gas Boom Is Doing More Harm Than Good.”