July 16, 2012--How states are regulating fracking--in maps (Washington Post)

Armed with new drilling techniques, companies are spreading out across the United States, cracking open shale rock in search of vast new stores of natural gas. It’s not an exaggeration to say that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has revolutionized the U.S. energy industry. Cheap natural gas has become America’s top source for electricity, displacing coal and bringing back jobs to once-decaying states like Ohio. But the fracking boom has also led to plenty of environmental concerns. Local communities are worried that the chemicals used to pry open the shale rock can contaminate nearby drinking water supplies. Excess gas is often vented off, producing air pollution. And the disposal of fracking wastewater underground appears to be linked to earthquakes in places like Ohio. Confronted with these worries, states have responded with a patchwork of different regulations. But there’s a lot of variation between different states. And here’s a good way to track what’s going on: A helpful series of new maps, put together by Resources for the Future (RFF), gives an overview of how 31 states with significant shale gas reserves are treating different aspects of fracking.

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