Natural Gas, Obama’s Influence


President Barack Obama made natural gas a central part of the energy plan detailed in his State of the Union address, taking a firm stance in a highly polarized debate about the method for extracting the fuel.

The push to harvest America’s vast deposits of natural gas has pitted lawmakers and the energy industry against environmentalists, who contend the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is unsafe and could contaminate groundwater supplies. Fracking entails blasting a mixture of sand, water and chemicals deep underground to dislodge natural gas trapped in shale rock formations.

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