‘Fracking’ up next on Overheard

To frack or not to frack?

OK, “frack” really isn’t a word. But “fracking” is and it’s become a hot topic of discussion around energy production board rooms, in environmental activists’ living rooms and in public policy hearing rooms around the country.

Overheard with Evan Smith, the PBS program based out of Austin and hosted by Texas Tribune editor in chief Evan Smith, explores the issue with senior energy reporter Russell Gold, who’s written extensively about fracking for the Wall Street Journal.

The program airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on Panhandle PBS.


Fracking actually is a kind of shorthand term that describes a process called “hydraulic fracturing.” It involves the injection of fluid into sub-surface faults to break up shale and rock to release embedded petroleum.

Fracking has drawn intense support and equally intense criticism.

Its supporters note that the technique allows producers to reach petroleum reserves that otherwise were out of reach. It’s a technique being used to find oil in places such as North Dakota, which is seeing the type of energy-related economic boom experienced in the Permian Basin in the 1970s, and which is recurring today.

Critics say fracking is dangerous for the environment, that it produces instability underground, creating more of a likelihood for earthquakes.

Russell Gold is an expert on this process. He has examined the rise of fracking in the energy production industry.

I’d like to learn more about this process myself. I would bet real money Gold will answer some key questions about it Thursday night on Panhandle PBS.


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