What do you know about fracking, anyway? (Or, why I want to spend the month of April inside on my computer)

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Graphic by Al Granberg/Pro Publica. http://propublica.org

At 444 pages, the North Carolina Oil and Gas Study is an extensive document. During the month of April, Laura White will be tackling this entire document, conducting interviews with experts and breaking it down section by section so you can be as informed as possible.

Check in a few times a week, and watch for #NCFrackFocus on Twitter for daily updates as we work our way through what you need to know. Have a specific question you want us to address? Email lwhite@raleighpublicrecord.org or Tweet @lewhite.

Before I delve into any of this draft report (and oh, yes, there will be plenty of delving), I want to outline why exactly I’m undertaking this insanely close read of all 444 pages, 10 sections and 7 appendixes. And believe me, it isn’t because I just have a little too much time on my hands, though it might be because I’m a little crazy.

Sure, you could read the executive summary of the environmental study, get the basic gist of what DENR decided, and an overview of why. I did that.

But what I found was that reading it just made me hungry for more. While all-inclusive, that summary is not extensive, and only scratches the surface of what is — and I’m being modest here — a pretty epic issue.

The truth is I don’t know as much about fracking as I’d like to. I don’t have a degree in any sort of science or engineering field. I studied poetry and fiction in school, so I learned how to research a topic and write a proper sentence, but I never collected the data points. And being North Carolina born and bred, I’ve never lived outside of our lovely state, so I’ve no experience with the community influence or personal impact of the industry.

That’s exactly why all of this matters to me.

It’s incredibly important that we all be as informed as possible. There are a lot of politics and money tied up in the natural gas industry, and bringing that industry to North Carolina would have an incredibly significant and lasting impact on our environment and economy — to say the least.

So my gift to you, Raleigh, is this record of my own pursuit of knowledge. During the next month, I’ll talk to experts in academia and industry, hunt down facts and charts, and look up a whole lot of words.

I’m not planning on telling you what to think. That’s not my place. I’m just hoping to learn more about this issue that could impact our state and share that with you, period. I hope to give you all the tools you need to make an informed decision.

If you have any questions you’d like answered, please email or tweet them my way.

Let’s figure this thing out together.

— Laura

4 thoughts on “What do you know about fracking, anyway? (Or, why I want to spend the month of April inside on my computer)

  1. Thanks so much for embarking on this, Laura. You couldn’t have picked a more important North Carolina issue as far as environmental and health concerns go. I’ll be forwarding your posts to my elected officials!

  2. Thank You Laura!! I agree with Ana and I’ve been voicing my concerns online about Fracking in NC. If you’d be willing to have some help, I’m kinda lost as to what I should be doing about Fracking other than spreading the word to those people I know who are willing to listen. Please contact me if you think I can help you (and RPR) doing research or whatever you think. . .Best, Scott

  3. Looking forward to your reading your work. On one hand, natural gas may serve as an important bridge to cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. On the other, I am highly suspicious of injecting a proprietary blend of chemicals into the earth and anywhere near the water table. Education and a fair representation of the pros and cons is exactly what’s needed.