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.
John Donvan, Moderator
Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates