Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Richard Pacelle, professor of political science at the University of Tennessee, to find some answers.
The town board of Dryden, New York voted recently to include fracking in the town law that bans related industries like mining.
Now Dryden is facing a lawsuit from an out-of-state drilling company which says the ban goes against New York State law.
Dozens of towns across the state with similar bans against gas extraction are watching the case closely. And the issue of hydro-fracking is dividing communities across the nation as the industry grows rapidly.
The natural gas industry says it delivers clean energy and revives local economies. Opponents point to land and water pollution, and growing reports of illness around fracking sites.