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article imageDocumentary director speaks out on benefits of 'fracking'

By Michael Krebs     Jan 21, 2013 in Environment
In an interview with the Daily Caller, 'FrackNation' director Ann McEllhinney explains more on why she made the film and on why she does not believe that fracking poses an environmental danger to anyone.
Just say the word "fracking," and you are likely to experience a range of perspectives and emotions - particularly in the American states where the process delivers both the promise of economic prosperity and the hand wringing concerns for human health and the environment at large. Both sides have dug in on the fracking debate and have built coalitions of geologists, environmental experts, oncologists, business leaders, water experts, politicians, Hollywood elites, and community organizers.
"Hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside," states in its definition of the practice.
The concerns that many have against fracking is that the underground disruption in the release of natural gas and oil, along with the injection of a variety of chemicals into the ground will destroy freshwater aquifers that are located within range of the fracking activity. Organizations like Food And Water Watch have also cited fracking's wasteful water usage.
"It’s an extremely water-intensive process where millions of gallons of fluid – typically a mix of water, sand, and chemicals, including ones known to cause cancer – are injected underground at high pressure to fracture the rock surrounding an oil or gas well," states Food And Water Watch on its web site. "This fracking releases extra oil and/or gas from the rock, so it can flow into the well."
However, the arguments in support of fracking, and the science behind the practice, are often muted in support of a given journalistic narrative; at least this is what Ann McElhinney, director of the documentary "FrackNation" believes. McElhinney takes particular issue with the claim that fracking will result in flammable tap water.
"You've been lighting water in America forever, basically," McElhinney told the Daily Caller. "Just forever, in fact. Native Americans were lighting water, and this is what people did for entertainment before there was television."
McElhinney, an Irish-born journalist, made the documentary to explore the perspectives of the local populations that are likeliest to benefit from the economic prosperity that fracking can deliver. Politically and economically, the practice of fracking is expected to become one of the key drivers in establishing the energy independence of the United States.
"Hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' is a proven and well-regulated technology. First used in the 1940s, hydraulic fracturing has unlocked massive new supplies of oil and clean-burning natural gas from dense deposits of shale — supplies that increase our country’s energy security and improve our ability to generate electricity, heat homes and power vehicles for generations to come. Fracking has been used in more than one million U.S. wells, and has safely produced more than seven billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas,", a web site of the American Petroleum Institute, states.
The economic engine behind the expansion of fracking and the instability found in many of the world's oil and natural gas sources appears to be equaling the environmental outcry against the implementation of hydraulic fracturing more broadly. While New York State has banned the practice in the face of known natural gas fields upstate, McElhinney believes the ban will be overturned by the regional populations that desperately need economic relief.
"FrackNation" will air this Tuesday at 9 PM EST on AXS-TV.
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