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Hydraulic fracking imperfect but feasible process

Where we stand

December 8, 2012
The Mining Journal

We have every confidence that an EPA study on what's known as hydraulic fracking will give the practice a clean bill of health.

Fracking isn't new. It's been used to extract petroleum - principally natural gas - since the 1940s. It involves injecting fluids under great pressure to break up the layers of rock the natural gas, for example, is trapped in.

Environmentalists correctly point out that the practice can cause pollution to the water table, among other problems.

Operators counter claim that sufficient safeguards can be built into the process to make the risks acceptable.

Because of these reasonable and other concerns, EPA has launched a comprehensive study.

Based on what we know today, it appears hydraulic fracking is a feasible way to access the large deposits of natural gas.

It's not without some degree of risk. Certainly all petroleum extraction has risk. But given the tremendous upside, we believe the EPA will find the practice is safe - with appropriate precautions in place.



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