A group of environmentalists and drilling companies has crafted a truce of sorts over the rapid spread of natural gas production in the Appalachian Basin. Four major drilling companies and several environmental groups have agreed on 15 voluntary standards for cleaner drilling practices.
The practices of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — when companies inject water laced with chemicals deep underground to split open rock formations and get the gas to flow faster — are transforming the rural region in the Eastern U.S. into a sprawling industrial zone.
“It’s quite frankly a game changer for the nation in terms of energy supply, and that’s drawn to it a lot of attention,” says Bruce Niemeyer, head of Chevron’s Appalachia unit. “In order to realize the benefits in the long term, as an industry we need to go about development in a responsible way.”
But many environmental groups have complained that the companies have contaminated the air and water.
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