The marcellus shale is a geologic formation underlying New York State's southern tier, a region comparable to Vermont in its size and rural beauty.

For years, gas extraction companies have pressured New York State officials and the state's Department of Environmental Conservation to permit the liberation of methane from the shale through a process called horizontal hydrologic fracturing, or fracking.

Complicating the issue is neighboring Pennsylvania's well-documented experience turning its own bucolic landscapes into industrial energy fields, boomtowns, tank farms, and trucking thoroughfares.

Gas drillers have also been shy in disclosing the list of carcinogenic chemicals they pump into the ground as part of the fracking process. On the plus side, at least for politicians, the industry does drop a lot of campaign cash on its friends.

Here is a selection of cartoons from this bubbling border war between gas and water, and the battle for the soul of our carbon nation.