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No energy industry backing for use of word ‘fracking’

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a technique long used by the oil and gas industry to free oil and gas from rock.

By JONATHAN FAHEY Published: January 27, 2012
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NEW YORK — A different kind of F-word is stirring a linguistic and political debate as controversial as what it defines.

The word is “fracking” — as in hydraulic fracturing — a technique long used by the oil and gas industry to free oil and gas from rock.

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At a glance

What is fracking?

In hydraulic fracturing, millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped into wells to break up underground rock formations and create escape routes for the oil and gas. In recent years, the industry has learned to combine the practice with the ability to drill horizontally into beds of shale, layers of fine-grained rock that in some cases have trapped ancient organic matter that has cooked into oil and gas. By doing so, drillers have unlocked natural gas deposits across the East, South and Midwest that are large enough to supply the U.S. for decades.

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