“From wherever you stood, the opposing side offered respectable, credible views. In today's fractured culture the evening struck a blow for civility.”

- The Huffington Post

More praise for IQ2 US

Frick and Frack

By John Donvan — June 28, 2012

A short note on Frick and Frack -- and then on "Frickin' Frackin'" "Frick and Frack," you may know, is a common term used to describe two guys who get on well with each other. The original Frick and Frack? A Swiss comedy ice skating duo in the 1930s. Now you know. Frickin' Frackin' -- on the other hand? Well, we made that up (we think) to capture the spirit of the debate we're staging at the Aspen Ideas Festival. It's on the way we're getting energy out of the ground these days. Here we have two sides who, to put it mildly, are NOT getting along.

Fracking refers to a particular method of extracting natural gas from deep layers of shale. It has taken off in a huge way in the past decade, and is being developed in 32 states, increasingly stalked by controversy wherever it goes. Ingenious.

But also dangerous? That's the huge pushback against fracking: the argument that all that stuff being shot down into the bowels of the planet is toxic and destabilizing to the geology and the ecology of the places where it's practiced. There are reports of drinking water poisoned and people and animals getting sick.

What's at stake? Fracking supporters see the technology as a route to energy independence. And a good way to create jobs and spur the economy with lower fuel costs. Opponents question the economic logic, while demanding more scientific study to determine whether fracking is safe -- which they obviously doubt. There is actually not a great deal of science on this.

Our debate is called: NO FRACKING WAY: THE NATURAL GAS BOOM IS DOING MORE HARM THAN GOOD. You can read up on the issues in advance, as I am, by clicking on some of the arguments for and against posted on the right hand column.

And on July 1, if you can't make it to Aspen, you can watch the debate live online at Fora.tv. Join us. Bring a friend. Fricks, bring your Fracks, and vice versa. We like a crowd.


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John Donvan, Moderator
Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates


  • Comment Link Mariela Saturday, 20 October 2012 22:01 posted by Mariela

    Wow.. I had no idea what fracking was eetihr. so much for being enviromentally aware And really.. I thought I was! Hmm.. it is not just in this case that biz taking over logic.. in Ontario they are going to build a Mega Quarry an hour outside of the biggest cities in Canada (Toronto). There has been protests, and letters, public radio interviews and more. Don't know how it will end up.But the bottom line is we need to get our officials' to start looking at the benefits to the overall long term sustainability of our communities, and not to the short term profits. I wonder how it will all play out. maybe you can have a public group suing thing for the government. where the people sue the gov't for stupid actions they take. ( I forget what you call it.)

  • Comment Link Bob Kunces Saturday, 28 July 2012 17:01 posted by Bob Kunces

    There is a lot of talk about waste-water and Joe Nocera mentioned that NY is opening up fracking. My understanding is that NY is opening up because they are going to use new technology that is water-less fracking.
    Patented LPG gel fracturing technology: It’s waterless. It’s safe. And it stimulates much higher reservoir production.
    GASFRAC’s proven, advanced gelled LPG technology replaces conventional water-reliant fracturing methods.
    First, there’s no water. It’s a Liquefied Petroleum Gas gel that is as natural to a well as soil is to the earth. Soluble in formation hydrocarbons, it improves performance without using water.
    Second, it’s safe. We’ve developed a zero-oxygen, closed system and specialized equipment that protects worker safety, eliminates post-job cleanup and requires only minimal flaring that can be reduced to zero given the appropriate recapture facilities.
    Third, it produces more. The ability to quickly recover 100% of the fracturing fluid results in enhanced oil and gas recovery, longer sustained production, and the ability to recapture, reuse or resell—a highly cost-effective benefit, especially for multi-stage horizontal wells.
    How Safe is GASFRAC’s Technology
    There’s no danger of contaminating drinking water, it has the potential to save millions of gallons of water per well, It reduces truck traffic and CO2 emissions (a typical frack well requires 70 tractor-trailer deliveries to the well site), It reduces and in some cases eliminates damage to the well formation, nearly 100% of the natural fluid that’s pumped into the well gets pumped out and recycled to be used in the next well And it’s so safe, it’ll be used in New York!

    New York has had a moratorium on fracking since August 2010.
    Why not require all fracking to meet these water-less standards?

  • Comment Link Res Thursday, 12 July 2012 10:54 posted by Res

    You said, "Fracking refers to a particular method of extracting natural gas from deep layers of shale"

    Excuse my pedantry, but hydraulic fracturing is not a "method of extraction." It is, instead, a method of stimulation or enhancement of fluid flow. The method of extraction has been and is still drilling a well.

    This technique has been used for decades in all lithologies ("kinds of rock" to non-geologists) but has only recently entered general public awareness. Additionally, fracking is used not just for natural gas production in western New York's Marcellus Shale, but also for oil exploration: the Bakken Shale in ND and Eagleford Shale in TX, among others.

    Minor points (except that definition thing), perhaps, but beginning a debate from incorrect assumptions smacks of politician-like "spin."

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