Definition of Terms
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Fracking, or Hydraulic Fracturing is a method used to extract underground resources including oil, natural gas, and geothermal energy by injecting high pressure fluid into a geologic formation containing oil or natural gas deposits. The high pressure fluid opens up existing fractures and creates new fracture systems that allow the resources that were once trapped to move more freely into a production well for further extraction.
Shale gas is defined by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) as natural gas that is trapped within shale formations. Shale formations are geologic formations that contain hydrocarbon mixtures that naturally form an underground reservoir.
A U.S. Ban on hydraulic fracturing for shale gas production would prohibit the U.S. energy industry from extracting shale gas from geologic structures in the U.S. via fracking. It would also prohibit the recovery and refinement natural gas from wells at hydraulic fracking production sites within the U.S.
The use of hydraulic fracturing in the U.S. has greatly expanded the ability of the energy industry to efficiently recover natural gas and oil from geological structures with low-permeability, such as shale rock. Extracting gas and oil from shale increases the availability of this resource for exploitation by U. S. energy companies; however, there are many health and environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing. Are these risks too high? Do they outweigh the promise of enhanced domestic energy production? These are the questions surrounding the current hydraulic fracturing debate.
Natural gas production in the U.S. has increased from 1.0 trillion ...
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