In the past few decades, an energy phenomenon has been taking place some 14,000 feet beneath American soil. It has revolutionized the production of energy in the United States, and could create 2 million jobs.
Most people have heard of fracking, the hydraulic fracturing of shale rock for natural gas and oil, but few fully apprecaite the real impact it’s having on the U.S. economy. Gregory Zuckerman’s new book The Frackers, tells the story of the massive energy revolution happening across the United States that probably hasn’t garnered as much attention as it deservers (Zuckerman and I recently discussed his new book. Listen to our full conversation here.)
In 2008, while the world was floundering from the housing crash, fracking was taking off. Now, fracking’s the modern day gold rush, creating small towns and billionaires almost over night.
Williston, North Dakota is one such town.
In 2000, there were an estimated 12,680 people living there. Now, North Dakota State University says the population could grow to 44,000 by 2017. It’s the Wild West.
Zuckerman, who traveled to Williston (and other towns like it), documented his experience his new book.
“GPS’ [doesn't] work there, the streets are being built weekly,” he said, “this is a city and a region almost being built from scratch…people from all over the world are coming there and it’s all to make money.”
In addition to creating jobs and towns, the fracking phenomenon could be a game changer in terms of our dependence on foreign oil. Zuckerman estimates that by 2020, the US will be producing enough oil to be “energy secure.”
For those who worry this could be derailed, Zuckerman insists there’s no chance of the Obama Administration moving to halt fracking on a national scale.“To argue that we are going to stop as a nation from fracking is really just unrealistic.” Zuckerman says.
Katie Howland contributed to this post.