Submitted by ub on Sat, 07/14/2012 - 20:24

Natural gas will undoubtedly play a key role in our nation's clean energy future. Since U.S.A. has vast reserves of natural gas that are commercially viable as a result of advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies enabling greater access to gas in shale formations. Responsible development of America's shale gas resources offers important economic, energy security, and environmental benefits.

Most of that production increase is due to the growing popularity of hydraulic fracturing “FRACKING”, a process used to release oil or gas from underground formations that are otherwise difficult to mine.

Over the past few years, advances in technology have made tremendous reserves of US natural gas economically recoverable. According to the Energy Information Administration, shale gas is in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and Texas. These have the natural gas to power the country for 110 years.

Fracking creates fractures that extend from wells into oil and gas formations by pumping highly-pressurized fluid water, sand, ceramic beads, and a mixture of chemicals into the oil or gas formation. As this fluid holds the underground fissures open, oil and gas flow up the well to the surface where they can be recovered. Water makes up an overwhelmingly high percentage of fracking fluid, but a congressional Democrat report identified about 750 chemicals that have also been used in the process, 29 of which are either likely or known carcinogens. That fluid also flows back up the well, and is stored in open pits until it can be sent to a treatment plant. Depending upon local geology, a variable amount of fracking fluid remains in the ground after a well has run dry.

Fracking produces airborne pollutants like methane, benzene, and sulfur oxide, and the EPA has recently targeted this pollution and says it plans to set strict guidelines to reduce it.