President Obama has given the Department of Energy 90 days to look at ways to improve the safety of drilling for natural gas. The Environmental Protection Agency has already started an extensive review of how drilling affects drinking water.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the study is the first of its kind.
In the debate over natural gas drilling, one side says not enough is known about hydraulic fracturing.
The other side says there have been sufficient studies and further reviews will cause bureaucratic delays. Fracking, as it's known, uses a mix of water and chemicals to help extract the gas. The industry says frack water has never contaminated drinking water.
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As Rebecca Roter stood on Broad Street, heavy clouds threatening rain overhead, she brandished a bottle of murky water labeled “Bradford County.” Her question was: Would you want to drink this? The answer from the dozens gathered outside the Doubletree Hotel yesterday, was a resounding “No fracking way.”
Gov. Rendell offered a teaspoon of his own criticism, saying that he was “very concerned about what happened.” As well he should be, as the gusher was tangentially his fault.
There are only a couple bits of information we can all really agree on: The Marcellus Shale is huge and it contains copious amounts of natural gas. Here’s something else you should agree on: That drilling for said gas could lead to several different environmental disasters. (And probably will if we let this happen).
The imagery of shale drilling is unfortunate: forcing a pipe deep into subterranean rock layers and emitting large quantities of salty liquid to release the gas trapped inside. But this is no rape of our environment; rather, it’s a consensual act of love between man and Earth, producing offspring in the form of a viable, relatively clean fuel source that we so desperately need.
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