The Fracking Debate

Aug 9, 2011

Natural gas is responsible for more of New England’s energy than you might expect.

More than 40 percent of power plants in our region are fueled by gas. It’s cleaner - though more expensive to burn - than coal. And with the cost of heating oil high - many homeowners have switched over.

For years, we’ve had to pipe it in from as far away as The Gulf of Mexico.

But a new source has been found in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and western New York. The cost of importing might be lower from this source, but what is the environment impact?

When gas is extracted through a process known as hydraulic fracturing---otherwise known as fracking, residents of some nearby towns say their water supplies are contaminated with the chemicals used to push the gas to the surface.

We’ll talk with a reporter from ProPublica who has been covering natural gas and the impact on the environment.

Do you use natural gas? Are you concerned about the environmental impact? Or do you see it as a good alternative to fuels like oil and coal?