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Regulation: an acceptable cost for frackers

Fracking companies must accept their environmental responsibilities if the world is to reap the benefits of shale-gas development

RECENT advances in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technologies and techniques promise to unlock vast reserves of natural gas. Additional shale-gas supply will reduce energy costs, carbon emissions and, for many countries, dependence on foreign energy producers. Not surprisingly, fracking is now subject to massive media and political attention. Unfortunately, that interest is mostly negative: there's a risk and perception that fracking threatens to deplete and pollute water supplies. Fracking can affect freshwater in four ways. First, fracking injects a large volume of water underground; this water has to come from somewhere. Second, chemicals mixed with water before it's injected pollute

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