BUTLER, Pa. — The history of slick water hydraulic fracturing extends back more than 60 years as America seeks solutions to its seemingly unquenchable thirst for energy.
Also known as fracking, the process has been used to extract oil and natural gas since 1947, said Peter MacKenzie, vice president of operations for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. He and other industry representatives argued that the process is safe and even when problems occur, companies work to alleviate any concerns.
Advances over the years have allowed the process to be readily duplicated across the country. These days the Marcellus Shale under Pennsylvania is among the most active natural gas plays in the country. Along with the rapid development comes questions about safety and environmental protection.
“Certainly folks have questions and they deserve answers,” Travis Windle, spokesman for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group, told Catholic News Service.
He suggested, though, that all Americans benefit from the shale development through lower priced natural gas, while the people of Pennsylvania have seen more than $1.8 billion in tax revenues and $406 million in impact fees for wear and tear on infrastructure and increased demands on local communities.
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