What’s the Deal With Fracking?

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It might be happening right now, in a neighborhood near you – something earth-shattering, under the ground.

It’s called hydraulic fracturing – “fracking,” for short.

And people have strong opinions about it.

“It’s just angering to see how we’re destroying the land,” 13-year-old Kelsey says.

“I think it’s good for the country,” 13-year-old Paiton says.  “Instead of having to import oil from countries like Iraq, we have it here in America.”

What does “fracking” actually mean?

It’s a process that allows us to get at oil and natural gas buried deep underground in rock formations.

In fracking, a well is drilled first down and then sideways through a layer of “shale” rock. A perforating gun creates holes in the metal pipe, causing the rock formations around it to fracture.

Next, millions of gallons of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, are pumped into the pipes to release the oil and natural gas that are trapped in the rock.

Fracking supporters say it’s a safe process that’s bringing jobs and energy independence to America.

“I think it’s a complete waste not to frack,” a boy named Ben says.

But fracking opponents say it’s contaminating our environment – and making people sick.

“What good is the money,” Grant says, “if you can’t breathe your air or drink your water?”

In some communities, fracking is transforming the landscape above ground as much as it is underground, by pumping lots of money into the local economy.

“They’re thinking about building a mall,” a girl named Tessa says.  “(We) never thought we’d get a mall!”

But progress doesn’t come without a price.

“It seems like all the animals are just leaving because (of) all the people, all the traffic, all the noise,” a boy named Colton says.

See how fracking is changing kids’ lives, for better or worse, on Monday, February 25th, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), on a new edition of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee on Nickelodeon.

The show is called “What’s the Deal With Fracking?”

(If you live in a different time zone, check your local cable listings to see when the show will be on in your community.)

Listen to both sides of the fracking argument.

Then decide for yourself who’s right.