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Fracking: Shattered Ground | PBS America

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Fracking: Shattered Ground - premieres 9pm, 7 August (Sky 534 & Virgin Media 243)

As conventional sources of fossil fuels begin to dry up, our quest
for cheap power continues. But is the latest innovation, fracking,
the final straw that breaks the earth's back?

Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping a fluid mix of water, sand
and chemicals into layers of shale deep underground to force out
tiny pockets of gas. Those pockets soon mount up -- shale
reserves provided two thirds of the US's gas in 2012, and it is
estimated that there could be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas
trapped under the north of England alone, bringing huge
economic benefits as well as securing the nation's energy
independence. Yet efforts to extract the gas were believed to be
linked to two earthquakes in Lancashire in 2011, prompting a
temporary ban on the technique, and disturbing clips from the US
of flammable tap water raise doubts about whether the human
and environmental cost of cheap fuel is too high. Fracking fluid
that seeped to the surface in the US was tested and deemed so
toxic that it needed to be pumped back underground. Yet in
Britain much of our tap water comes from subterranean aquifers,
and the consequences of their becoming contaminated would be
too horrendous to contemplate. This documentary explores both
sides of an argument that appears destined to continue. Show less
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