How much do you really know about fracking? According to a survey of nearly 2,400 people, the majority of the public, has “never heard of” or “not familiar” with hydraulic fracturing.

Sixty-three percent of respondents reported they had “never heard of” or were “not familiar” with hydraulic fracturing. Just 32 percent called themselves “familiar,” leaving 5 percent who answered more ambiguously, “neither.” In other words, fracking is a case where the public lags behind the science and the technology, so we are left with a highly controversial topic that few Americans understand. But this technology is not only a big deal; it’s already changing the international energy landscape.

If this survey is true, what percentage of the public is actually concerned about fracking? Hydraulic fracturing, fracking for short, is the process for extracting natural gas from the ground. Fracking could lead to energy security in the United State, boost the economy, and create jobs. However, fracking continues to circle the media with good and bad press.

In order to better inform the public, we need to do a better job communicating the process and benefits of fracking. Fracking has grabbed strong media attention; however, if the subject isn’t communicated efficiently to the public, the public is more likely to be persuaded to believe one way or another by the media or favored politicians.

Hydraulic fracturing is a very literal term. In order to release natural gas from the ground, a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals are pushed into the ground using a hydraulic pump. The pump applies enough pressure to fracture shale rock formations located thousands of feet below ground. The fractures are held open by the sand, which allows the oil and gas to flow smoothly into the wells. Hydraulic fracturing is not a new process for drilling companies. In fact, fracking has been used for more than half a century. The development of new fracking technologies has made the fracking industry more efficient by reducing the number of wells needed to extract gas in any given area.

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