Fracking - the employment of pressurized liquid to create fractures in layers of rock - has become a topic as equally omnipresent as controversial over the last few years.
Those for fracking see the economic advantages inherent to the girth of energizing hydrocarbons that can be culled through the process. Staunch opponents, on the other hand, remain fearful of fracking's reputed negative impact on the environment, including but not limited to air and ground water contamination.
A seven-member federal advisory committee determined two years ago that "serious environmental consequences" could result from fracking if considerations of such aforementioned impact are not taken into account by companies engaging in the hydrocarbon-extracting process.
Fracking proponents such as Chesapeake Energy - the second largest producer of natural gas in the country - have a contrary view of what they refer to as the "safe" recovery of natural gas and oil.
"This technology has the potential to not only dramatically reduce our reliance on foreign fuel imports, but also to significantly reduce our national carbon dioxide," says Cheseapeake Energy on their Web site that purports to relay "Hydraulic Fracturing Facts."
It should be noted that the self-proclaimed "champion" of America's natural gas is also the nation's eleventh largest producer of oil/natural gas liquids and, more significantly in reference to possible subjectivity viz. fracking, "the most active driller of new wells in the U.S."
Pseudo-implicit bias aside, the Associated Press reported last July that some scientists might be "misleading" the public on the topic, and that said scientists offer "little or no" backing to claims being made about fracking's contributing to pollution and higher cancer risk.
"The debate is becoming very emotional," said Avner Vengosh, a Duke University professor who specializes in geochemistry and was quoted in the 2012 AP article (that has itself been the topic of much debate). "And basically not using science."
However, Vengosh amplified his statement before appearing at a congressional hearing on the subject this past October.
"While low-cost coal and new shale gas reserves are vital for enhancing U.S. energy security," Vengosh said, "the direct and indirect effects on the environment might have significant long-term implications for ecological systems and human health."
Referring to the "shale gas revolution" of the U.S., the Telegraph reported last December that the UK will be following in the footsteps of its frack-active younger sibling.
"If we are even half as successful as... the U.S., then this will be a great boost to Britain," the Telegraph relayed.
While still banned in some countries (eg France, Bulgaria), fracking is underway now throughout Australia, Poland, and China.