Colorado

Jul 21, 2010 11:59 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

EPA takes new look at gas drilling, water issues

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing this week for a third round of hearings - this time in Canonsburg, Pa. - on the controversial natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

A wealth of natural gas is locked into the Marcellus Shale deep beneath Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio. Some geologists estimate it's enough to supply the entire East Coast for 50 years but there are fears fracking could pollute water above and below ground and deplete aquifers.

The process is currently exempt from federal regulation. The oil and gas industry says it's been safe for many years and is needed to keep the nation on a path to energy independence.

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