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December 05, 2014 By Zachary Slobig. Take Part

A little-noticed expansion of hydraulic fracturing of deepwater oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico is unnerving environmental watchdogs as federal regulators keep a lid on information about the operations.    

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves the injection of highly pressurized, chemical-laced water into wells. The technique has mainly been used onshore to extract oil and gas from subterranean rock formations and has sparked ongoing controversy, ranging from the fracking’s pollution of drinking water to its role in triggering earthquakes.

Now fracking is moving offshore. Unlike the thousands of highly visible drilling rigs that sit atop shale formations across the United States, deep ocean fracking is largely out of sight, out of mind.