Hydraulic fracturing allows for the production of oil and natural gas in shale rock that tightly holds oil and natural gas resources. To hydraulic fracture the shale, water, sand, and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the shale rock and release the oil or natural gas. (See chart below.) Today, 9 out of 10 gas wellsin the United States[i] are hydraulic fractured and its use along with horizontal drilling has created a natural gas boom in this country resulting in relatively low natural gas prices, particularly compared to gas prices elsewhere in the world. But, the federal government wants to increase these prices by imposing additional regulation for drilling on federal and Indian lands.
Currently, federal lands are already regulated by the states in which the wells are located.[ii] Many of those states already require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals used in the extracting process.[iii] Although hydraulic fracturing has been used by natural gas and oil companies for more than 60 years without one confirmed case of groundwater contamination, the federal government wants to increase its role, slow down the drilling process, and increase the cost of these fuels by regulating the technology further.