If each state adopts its own unique set of shale gas regulations, a regulatory race to the bottom is possible. However, if the federal government adopts rigid regulations, America's shale gas boom may prove to be more environmentally friendly.
People across America are talking about the effect hydraulic fracturing (often called "fracking") is having on our food, water and health. But even if you don't have time to read all the reports and articles, you are probably curious about fracking, and why people are concerned.
Just as the natural gas industry must mitigate the poisonous effect hydrofracking has on our aquifers, it must also ensure accidental methane emissions are kept to a minimum. Only then could it serve to help steer our society away from coal and petroleum based energies.
Along with the promise of economic benefits and a healthier planet comes the worry that the exponential growth in the industry is spawning troubling health risks in communities near fracking operations.
Are you confused by the debate over fracking? I'm not surprised. The public debate is complex, angry, boisterous, a mix of science intertwined with politics, and complicated by a lack of information (or even intentional disinformation) on all sides.
Food or frac-sand: it's a decision of vital importance across the country, but one most Americans don't even realize is being made -- largely by multinational corporations and dwindling numbers of yeoman farmers in what some in this country would call "the real America."