Are we getting fracked?

New word for your energy tech vocab: "fracking." It is the practice of using hydaulic pressure and chemicals to get inderground natural gas to the surface where it can be piped and marketed.

New word for your energy tech vocab: "fracking." It is the practice of using hydaulic pressure and chemicals to get inderground natural gas to the surface where it can be piped and marketed. And it's one more costly energy practice that is highly political. Our relative abundant natural gas and its relative clean burning make this issue a bull's eye for all those lobbyists in Washington.

"Hydraulic fracturing" = "fracking." And fracking releases much natural gas not available through simply well drilling. Now environmental groups are charging that fracking damages and pollutes nearby ground water. All fracking regs are now handled by the state after a federal law in 2005 forbid the federal government from overseeing fracking practices. Many states, naturally, are natural gas fans because it fuels the local economy. Somebody else can worry about the water supply, right?

Well, the current battle will be over an attempt to repeal that 2005 law.

Lawyers can see big bucks in the fracking accident damage suits. Gas companies see big profits. Environmentalists see big dangers. Lobbyists on both sides see big bills to their clients. Congress sees a big chance to huff and puff. Lots of people will be pleased as the fracking fracas brings more gassing to Washington this year.