The benefits completely outweigh the drawbacks of fracking. Fracking is completely safe and can provide the world with all the energy we need. There is also a new fluid that was created that contains only ingredients in our food. A executive in a fracking company even drank the new fluid to show how safe it was. The benefits clearly outweigh the harm.
Yes fracking is a controversial topic due to the movie that one guy made, but just because a few people can light their faucet water on fire doesn't really impact the broader world. In the US at least, subsistence farming off the land is largely a myth and many rural residents are engaged in extractive industries like forestry and mining or very large scale industrial farming activities. This myth touches on themes of independence and a romantic vision of a man purely against nature, which gives it power in American culture and thus generates much controversy when it appears large impersonal entities are intruding in this pure relationship of man and nature (by poisoning the water or erecting wind mills, etc.) . The broader question is whether we can use this controversy as an excuse to limit our fossil fuel consumption to avoid the long term effects of global warming. I believe that the benefits fossil fuels are providing in lifting our world out of medieval poverty will overcome the long run costs of our increased short term burn rate. The demographic transition alone will dramatically reduce our need for resources and the degree to which our presence taxes the earth's ecosystem. If we need to frack a shale to get some gas so M'eccki can ride in a van the 20 miles to school so she can learn how to use family planning and have career ambitions the world will be much better off.
Yes, I believe the benefits of shale gas outweigh the drawbacks of fracking. Having a plentiful source of clean burning natural gas in important for the entire country. Much of our heating is done via natural gas and many of our power plants are powered by natural gas now since the use of coal fired plants are discouraged. The environmental impact of fracking is offset, by using this cleaner burning fuel nationwide. The impact is mostly localized, unlike the air pollution from other sources of fuel.
Fracking in populated areas is dangerous. Sure, then the city gets a fossil fuel, but the danger is worse. People could get seriously injured or killed! Also, if people are fracking by a fault, the fracking could cause earthquakes. And if we look at the shale gas, it will run out, ITS A FOSSIL FUEL!! It will run out eventually, wait until we have better technology to get it that is less dangerous!
There are no benefits that come from either. Shale gas is the dirtiest oil out there. Just look at the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/03/16/epa-orders-dredging-to-remove-kalamazoo-river-oil/ And fracking is also terrible. There might be ways to get it out safely, but there are no real laws that restrict and punish the companies that misstep or mislead the people who rent their land out. Watch GasLand and you will see. www.gaslandthemovie.com/
While the process of fracking is great for accessing fossil fuels that are hard to reach, the dangers of this process, especially in populated areas, is not worth the risk. Fracking has ruined communities in the past, and it will do so in the future, so say no to fracking!