Cryptic black signs with an X through the word "Frak" have appeared all over town. This failure of graphic design is an abomination.
"Ok, you have my attention... so howabout adding a website or something so I can actually find out what you're trying to advertise!?!?"
Luckily, one of our local papers had a story describing the proposed extraction (fracking) of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale (which I had heard about). NPR's On Point got me up to speed.
The U.S. has massive untapped reservoirs of natural gas, which burns much cleaner than coal (which I already knew thanks to SimCity). "Hydrofracking" fractures natural gas containing formations with high pressure water, making the formation more permeable and allowing the more rapid collection of natural gas (or other fuels). According to the guests, this process has been used extensively in many parts of the country (e.g. Texas) with little to no environmental impacts. Apparently, one of the major suburbs of Houston is completely undercut by hydrofracking equipment and pumps are located within 100 feet of houses!
Contrarily, operations in other locations (especially Pennsylvania), have been blamed for groundwater contamination with all sorts of toxic industrial chemicals, in addition to more fanciful claims, such as generating earthquakes. One guest seemed to say that, while operations in places like Texas have been shown to be pretty much 100% safe, it is not unlikely that the unique geological characteristics of the Marcellus Shale may cause additional hazards.
So I guess I would be against it? (at least until the safety has been investigated further?)
I do think it's important to balance these pros and cons against greater concerns though. One caller reminded us that potential environmental contamination may be the alternative to our ongoing military involvement in the Middle East. I don't know what the right decision is, but I'd hate to see the wrong decision be made just for NIMBY.