Fracked Off - USA

High energy costs force world to consider fracking

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Energy resources may be running out, but activists are determined to resist the extraction of natural gas through 'fracking'. We explore why fracking has exploded onto the scene and is so contentious.

The Marcellus Shale is a sedentary rock formation in America which houses trillions of cubic metres of natural gas. To release this resource, gas companies have adopted hydraulic fracking, a method whereby the rock is split using high pressured chemicals and water. However, "once those chemicals are in the ground they are in there forever" and the contamination that has occured as a result of fracking has precipitated widespread illness. "I started noticing that my hands began to tremble like an 80 year old woman and when I went to stand my knees would just give out". With such repercussions, locals wonder why government officials are so keen to refute the facts and allow fracking to continue. The sad truth is that the tremendous power and influence of the gas industry has left authorities powerless to regulate them. However, some communities are determined to challenge the hegemony of the energy industry: "I'm not going to roll over for the gas company".

A Film By SBS
Distributed By Journeyman Pictures
September 2011