Hydraulic fracturing is a fast and popular method of opening up tight rocks to let out the oil and gas inside them. The method is simple in concept, and the technology is mature, having been in use for more than 60 years. But fracking is getting a bad name because of incidents, both serious accidents and misattributed or overblown cases, that have roused public fear and opposition. You have the inflammatory documentary "Gasland," and on the other side you have diligent reporters pointing out errors in the popular coverage, countering commenters like British geoscientist James Verdon, writer of the Frackland blog, and the upcoming "Fracknation" documentary pointing out the long history of natural gas springs. No matter where things will shake out, this mature technology will be controversial for a long time to come.
Aren't there other ways to accomplish the things fracking is used for?
I've learned of one technology that opens up tight rock not by forcing open cracks, but by digging out slices of rock and leaving open voids around a well. The provider, Falconridge Oil Canada, calls it Terra Slicing. Naturally I'm not expert enough to recommend it over another technique, just pointing out that other ways exist. I know readers would welcome hearing about more; just post a comment pointing us to them.