Oil & Gas won't stop fracking but wants you to stop saying "fracking"
Josh Fox, the director of the documentary Gasland that attributes "fracking" as the source of all gas-drilling evils, including some unrelated to fracturing, says his broader use of the term is justified because there would be no shale-gas development without hydraulic fracturing.
Many activists, headline writers, and the public now use the word fracking to describe all aspects of gas production, not just fracturing.
The industry's insistence that there are no documented cases in which fracturing has caused groundwater contamination seems disingenuous to a public that is aware of cases in which gas-drilling caused pollution. Whether it was a bad frack job or bad cement work that allowed methane to leak into drinking water is irrelevant. In the public's mind, it's all fracking now.
Greg Matusky, the president of the Gregory FCA public relations firm, has a solution: Stop using the word.
Matusky's firm, using a Nielsen algorithm, has studied the use of the word fracking in traditional and online media against other terms used in natural-resource extraction. By the context in which words are used, Matusky can draw relative conclusions about positive and negative associations.
Natural gas drilling and horizontal drilling scored positively. Hydraulic fracturing scored much better than fracking. About the only terms worse than fracking were longwall mining, offshore drilling, and gulf drilling.
"A better, more positive term is warranted," Matusky wrote in a blog post in February. "The industry needs to identify negatively charged words and replace them with positive language."