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U.S. Energy Panel Gives Thumbs Up to Shale Gas Exploration, Fracking

An advisory panel to the United States Department of Energy endorsed shale gas exploration and said that hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking") can be performed safely.

Fracking works by pumping water and chemicals into shale deposits, cracking the shale and pushing the natural gas upwards, where it is collected and used.

According to the Washington Post, the panel's report could lead to more shale gas exploration in the United States.

The news source reports that companies have utilized fracking at an accelerated clip over the past decade. In 2001, shale gas accounted for less than 2 percent of natural gas production in the U.S., while currently the number sits closer to 35 percent.

Some have become concerned about the environmental consequences of fracking but a study released in May by Duke University found that the practice itself does not pose risks, reports the New York Times.

The Environmental Working Group objected to the panel's findings, with the group's chief of staff Heather White saying, "the recommendations really do fall short for us," reports the Wall Street Journal. 



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