Energy independence has become a popular catchphrase in the U.S. in recent years, and efforts to achieve it have led companies into the world of hydraulic fracturing, a relatively new method of driving underground gases to the surface for collection.
But concern about drinking water resources at several locations near where energy companies are conducting hydraulic fracturing has spurred the Environmental Protection Agency to study the issue, and other potential health concerns are slowly coming into focus.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking” or shale gas exploration, is the process of using pressure in a water, chemical and sand mixture to create fractures in underground shale formations to push gas to the surface, where it can be collected. Shale gas is underground in a number of sites, including in the West, the South and the Northeast’s Appalachian Basin, according to the American Petroleum Institute. The gas is used for a variety of purposes, including energy generation, home heating and transportation.
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