"Environmentalists are beefing up efforts to increase regulation of a controversial oil and gas drilling technique as interest grows in tapping vast natural gas fields across the country.
Environment America today released a report calling for increased protection of drinking water as natural gas production grows. And earlier this week, environmental groups appealed a Pennsylvania decision that would allow a new wastewater treatment plant to dump hundreds of thousands of gallons of treated gas drilling wastewater into the Monongahela River each day.
At issue is the hydraulic fracturing drilling process, a decades-old technique that blasts a mix of water, chemicals and sand or plastic beads into compressed rock to open cracks and release trapped oil or gas. Hydraulic fracturing has been used for decades to improve production at aging wells and has recently been used to tap unconventional shale reservoirs like the Barnett in Texas, Marcellus in Appalachia and Haynesville in Louisiana."