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Yahoo.com: EPA takes new look at gas drilling, water issues


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HARRISBURG, Pa. – So vast is the wealth of natural gas locked into dense rock deep beneath Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio that some geologists estimate it's enough to supply the entire East Coast for 50 years.

But freeing it requires a powerful drilling process called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," using millions of gallons of water brewed with toxic chemicals, that some fear could pollute water above and below ground and deplete aquifers.

As gas drillers swarm to this lucrative Marcellus Shale region and blast into other shale reserves around the country, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking a new look at the controversial fracking technique, currently exempt from federal regulation. The $1.9 million study comes as the nation reels from the Deepwater Horizon environmental and economic disaster playing out in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil and gas industry steadfastly defends the process as having been proven safe over many years as well as necessary to keep the nation on a path to energy independence.

Studies have "consistently shown that the risks are managed, it's safe, it's a technology that's essential ... it's also a technology that's well-regulated," said Lee Fuller, director of the industry coalition Energy In Depth.

"A fair study," Fuller added, "will show that the procedures that are there now are highly effective and do not need to be altered — the federal government does not need to be there."

But because of the oil spill, conservation groups say the drilling industry has lost it credibility and the rapid expansion of shale drilling needs to be scrutinized.

Haliburton loophole? Lol, How in the world did this process escape the Clean Water Act?

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By way of the EPA study showing it to be safe

Lemmings :pfft:

The EPA, in a statement to The Associated Press, did not criticize its previous study. But given the rapid expansion of the industry and "serious concerns" about the impact of hydraulic fracturing, the agency said it concluded it was necessary to conduct a peer-reviewed study that draws upon best available science, independent experts and the public.

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