Energy / Hydraulic Fracturing

The best watchdog journalism on fracking

A natural gas drill at a hydraulic fracturing site in Springville, PA.

NEW YORK, NY — “Halliburton’s Interests Assisted by White House, Los Angeles Times, October 2004
Despite environmental concerns raised by staff members at the Environmental Protection Agency, former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney firmly supported hydraulic fracturing, which just happened to be developed by Halliburton, a company Cheney headed from 1995 to 2000.

Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering U.S. Water Supplies? ProPublica, November 2008
A 2004 EPA study concluded fracking did not pose a risk to drinking water, but contamination was far more prevalent than indicated in the report. A case in rural Wyoming was the first recognized by a federal agency. But more than 1,000 cases tied to drilling and fracking have been documented by courts and state and local governments — including one that blew up a house. (We normally don’t include our own work in these “Best Of” roundups, but reporting on natural gas drilling by Abrahm Lustgarten, Joaquin Sapien and others at ProPublica has won numerous journalism awards.)

State Oil and Gas Regulators Are Spread Too Thin To Do Their Jobs, ProPublica, December 2009
As fracking operations ballooned in 22 states, regulators struggled to keep up. Questions about resources required to regulate fracking rarely entered the debate, but it was hard to ignore in a place like Texas, where the number of new wells drilled each year jumped 75 percent between 2003 and 2009, and state regulatory staff increased just 5 percent. (We created a database that lets you find out how big the gas drilling regulatory staff is in your state.)

Game Changer, This American Life, July 2011
One Pennsylvania professor discovers that fracking is an economic boon; another, that the technique is an environmental nightmare. Politics ensue, and the resulting story provides poignant insight into what happens when a game changer hits a state, ‘like natural gas hit Pennsylvania.'”

— Blair Hickman and Cora Currier, ProPublica

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