Journalism in the Public Interest



Have you been curious what all the hubbub on "fracking" is about?

Here is a music video explaining it »

The energy giant raised the cash it needed to survive by slashing royalties it paid property owners to drill on their land. More »

A series of contamination incidents have raised questions about an EPA study finding hydraulic fracturing safe and ignited a debate over whether the chemicals used in fracking may threaten the nation's increasingly precious drinking water supply.
More »

Natural gas drilling is exempt from restrictions of the Safe Drinking Water Act, but congressional Democrats are working on legislation to change that. More »

More than a year of investigation by ProPublica, however, shows that the issues are far less settled than the industry contends, and that hidden environmental costs could cut deeply into the anticipated benefits. More »

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  updates since last visit

New York State of Fracking: A ProPublica Explainer

Court cases. A governor’s moratorium. Pending health study. A quick guide to the state of fracking in New York.

California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning it May Be Contaminating Aquifers

State’s drought has forced farmers to rely on groundwater, even as California aquifers have been intentionally polluted due to exemptions for oil industry.

Aggressive Tactic on the Fracking Front

A Pennsylvania gas company offers residents cash to buy protection from any claims of harm.

In Fracking Hotbed, a Muted Approach to Regulation

In Ohio, where gas drilling is booming and toxic waste abundant, legislators acted modestly to address concerns about public safety.

In Fracking Fight, a Worry About How Best to Measure Health Threats

In Pennsylvania, opponents of gas drilling say regulators are slow and unprepared in responding to air quality complaints.

Chesapeake Energy’s $5 Billion Shuffle

The energy giant raised the cash it needed to survive by slashing royalties it paid property owners to drill on their land.

Drilling for Certainty: The Latest in Fracking Health Studies

ProPublica surveys some recent research on potential health implications of hydro fracking.

Unfair Share: How Oil and Gas Drillers Avoid Paying Royalties

Income from oil and gas production doesn’t always trickle down to landowners, as companies find ways to minimize the share they pay in royalties.

New Study Finds High Levels of Arsenic in Groundwater Near Fracking Sites

A Q&A with Brian Fontenot, whose research gives the latest indication that fracking may be tied to arsenic contamination.

EPA’s Abandoned Wyoming Fracking Study One Retreat of Many

When the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly retreated on its investigation into water contamination in a central Wyoming natural gas field recently, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike.

Another Layer to Rendell’s Fracking Connections

Ed Rendell, the former Pennsylvania governor who oversaw a boom in the state's natural gas business, is special counsel to a Philadelphia firm deeply involved in the controversial fracking trade.

More Than a Matter of Opinion: Ed Rendell’s Plea for Fracking Fails to Disclose Industry Ties

Rendell, who supported fracking when he was governor of Pennsylvania, urged Andrew Cuomo of New York to get behind the industry in a strongly worded newspaper piece. He left a few details out.

Land Grab Cheats North Dakota Tribes Out of $1 Billion, Suits Allege

Native Americans on an oil-rich reservation have been cheated out of more than $1 billion by schemes to buy drilling rights for lowball prices — and the federal government failed in its legal obligation to ensure a fair deal, lawsuits claim.

Update: State Oil and Gas Regulators Still Spread Thin

ProPublica updates its database of regulatory oversight in oil and gas producing states, adding data on agency budgets and wells used to inject waste.

Updated: State Gas Drilling Regulatory Staff Tracker

How big is the natural gas drilling regulatory staff in your state?

New Study: Fluids From Marcellus Shale Likely Seeping Into PA Drinking Water

Researchers show natural fluids are migrating from thousands of feet underground and reaching drinking water supplies, raising concerns that man-made chemicals and waste could do the same.

The New ‘Dallas’: Sex, Scandal and U.S. Energy Policy!

There’s plenty of cheesy drama in the revamped soap. There’s also fracking and frank discussion about energy.

North Dakota’s Oil Boom Brings Damage Along With Prosperity

Booming oil production has brought a flood of toxic waste to North Dakota. Energy companies reported more than 1,000 releases of oil and wastewater last year alone.

New Study Predicts Frack Fluids Can Migrate to Aquifers Within Years

A new study has raised fresh concerns about the safety of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, concluding that fracking chemicals injected into the ground could migrate toward drinking water supplies far more quickly than experts have previously predicted.

ALEC and ExxonMobil Push Loopholes in Fracking Chemical Disclosure Rules

The conservative nonprofit group ALEC has pushed industry-backed model legislation that lets oil and gas companies muddy the waters on disclosure of fracking chemicals.

Four Big Takeaways From This Week’s Fracking Talk

In case you couldn’t make it, or don’t have time to watch the hour-plus recording, we pulled out the highlights.

The Best Watchdog Journalism On Fracking

A special edition of Top #Muckreads in advance of a ProPublica Tenement Talk on “The Perils and Promise of Fracking.”

So, Is Dimock’s Water Really Safe to Drink?

Preliminary test data appears to complicate the Environmental Protection Agency’s assurances that the water is safe to drink in a Pennsylvania town (EPA said nothing about cause).

What the Frack is in That Water?

Environmentalists have repeatedly pressed regulators to compel oil and gas companies to report what chemicals they use in the drilling and fracking process. No one knows the exact makeup of the frack mixture or drilling muds, but this list breaks down the main ingredients revealed so far.

What the Frack is in That Water?

Environmentalists have repeatedly pressed regulators to compel oil and gas companies to report what chemicals they use in the drilling and fracking process. No one knows the exact makeup of the frack mixture or drilling muds, but this list breaks down the main ingredients revealed so far.

New York Court Affirms Towns’ Powers to Ban Fracking

New York communities gain new authority to determine who can frack in their town.

Federal Rules to Disclose Fracking Chemicals Could Come with Exceptions

New proposed federal regulations would require drillers to disclose the names and concentrations of the chemicals they use, but would allow exemptions for substances deemed trade secrets.

From Gung-Ho to Uh-Oh: Charting the Government’s Moves on Fracking

Fracking has only recently become a household word, but government involvement with the drilling technique goes back decades. We trace officials' moves -- and levels of caution -- over time. over time.

From Gung-Ho to Uh-Oh: Charting the Government’s Moves on Fracking

The government's involvement with fracking actually goes back decades, and includes a nuclear blast. But calls for regulation are increasing.

Years After Evidence of Fracking Contamination, EPA to Supply Drinking Water to Homes in Pa. Town

The federal agency announced it would bring tanks of drinking water to four homes in Dimock, Pa.

EPA Sees Risks to Water, Workers In New York Fracking Rules

In 47 pages of comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency weighs in on New York’s potentially precedent-setting regulations for natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Fracking Cracks the Public Consciousness in 2011

The year brings a bumper crop of studies, intensifying health concerns, and a landmark development when environmental regulators conclude hydraulic fracturing likely caused groundwater contamination for the first time.

Oh, Canada’s Become a Home for Record Fracking

While furious debate over fracking rages in the U.S., the controversial practice has been embraced across the border. British Columbia and Alberta have offered incentives and loosened regulations to attract drilling.

Feds Link Water Contamination to Fracking for the First Time

The EPA’s investigation into water pollution near Pavillion, Wyo., produces landmark findings that could erode arguments used to defend safety of the gas drilling process.

Energy Dept. Panel Warns of Environmental Toll of Current Gas Drilling Practices

A report from a federal panel on shale gas said that without urgent action to improve drilling practices, regulators and the energy industry risk a public backlash that could slow development.

EPA Finds Compound Used in Fracking in Wyoming Aquifer

After years of complaints from residents about foul water and health concerns, government investigators have found chemical compounds consistent with those used in natural gas fracking.

EPA Plans to Issue Rules Covering Fracking Wastewater

The federal government had left it to states to decide how to regulate wastewater that was discharged from wells to streams, but now says it will develop national standards.

Doctors Ask New York to Study Health Impacts Before Allowing Fracking

Medical professionals and environmentalists sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying the state should study the health effects of gas drilling before allowing more of it .

Pennsylvania Governor Proposes Fee on Gas Drillers

Pennsylvania is the only major oil-and-gas producing state without a drilling tax. The state’s governor has promised not to raise taxes so he’s proposing a fee instead, angering environmentalists.

Science Lags as Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields

People who live close to natural gas drilling in four states complain of similar health symptoms, ranging from respiratory infections to lesions and neurological problems, but there is little science or study to get at the cause of their ailments.

Who Are America’s Top 10 Gas Drillers?

Though the industry sometimes touts natural gas drilling as dominated by small businesses, the 10 largest drillers account for one-third of all domestic production.

Report for Obama Questions Effectiveness of Gas Drilling Regulations

An Energy Department panel said there are serious environmental consequences of drilling for gas in deep shale formations. Without action, the panel said, those problems will worsen.

N.Y. Enviro Commissioner Expects Little From EPA Fracking Study

In an interview, the commissioner of New York's Department of Environmental Conservation says he is confident underground contamination from hydraulic fracturing is not a risk, and that the Environmental Protection Agency's study of fracking won't yield new information.

Does an Old EPA Fracking Study Provide Proof of Contamination?

A 24-year-old EPA report uncovered this week adds to a list of examples of how water supplies are polluted in natural gas drilling areas and provides the strongest articulation yet by federal officials that fracking has caused the contamination.

EPA Proposes New Rules on Emissions Released by Fracking

New federal regulations would require companies to reduce the amount of smog-forming and toxic pollutants emitted in many stages of the production, transmission and storage of natural gas.

State Fracking Rules Could Allow Drilling Near New York City Water Supply Tunnels

City officials had advocated for a seven-mile buffer. Instead, the state is proposing to allow drilling within 1,000 feet of tunnels that carry water to New York City.

Lawsuits Predicted as New York Towns Ponder Whether to Block Fracking

Drilling is still months away, but talk has already begun about legal challenges from energy companies and landowners in the areas where hydraulic fracturing would be prohibited.

New York Proposes Permanent Ban on Fracking Near Watershed and State Land

Oil and Gas Drilling Surges Despite Increased Oversight

The pace of domestic oil and gas drilling is nearing the 20-year high reached before the recession. The growth undermines claims that increased regulation slows drilling.

EPA Fracking Study to Focus on Five States—But Not Wyoming

The EPA has picked 7 sites in 5 states that it will focus on for its national study of the effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water.

Critics Find Gaps in State Laws to Disclose Hydrofracking Chemicals

Five states have adopted rules requiring drilling companies to disclose what’s in hydraulic fracturing fluids, but critics say they don’t go far enough to protect public health and the environment.

Exxon Ad Makes Gas Drilling Seem Simpler—and Safer—Than It Really Is

Exxon's full-page ad illustrates how well pipes are protected with casings of steel and cement. But the picture's not as pretty as the company paints it.

Forced Pooling: When Landowners Can’t Say No to Drilling

Gas drillers are using a powerful legal tool to force reluctant landowners to cooperate.

PA Officials Issue Largest Fine Ever to Gas Driller

Chesapeake Energy is fined more than $1 million after contaminating water supplies in Bradford County.

Gas Drilling Companies Hold Data Needed by Researchers to Assess Risk to Water Quality

The drilling industry complained about a lack of data related to methane in water wells that it has been collecting for years.

Fracking: The Music Video

A great video explaining fracking.

Scientific Study Links Flammable Drinking Water to Fracking

For the first time, a peer-reviewed scientific study has linked natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing with a pattern of drinking water contamination so severe that some faucets can be lit on fire.

PA Oil and Gas Inspectors Free to Issue Violations Without Approval From Top, Enviro Chief Says

Officials say oil and gas inspectors do not need approval from DEP Secretary Michael Krancer to issue violations to companies drilling for gas in the Marcellus Shale, contradicting earlier reports and leaked emails.

Response to Pa. Gas Well Accident Took 13 Hours Despite State Plan for Quick Action

A Texas emergency response team was flown in to deal with a recent Pennsylvania gas well accident, even though the state arranged last year for a local team to be available.

Natural Gas Drilling Is at a Crucial Turning Point

The natural gas industry must develop regulations that scale up drilling safely and learn from the mistakes made in the United States.

PA Senate Confirms Controversial Job Czar Nominee

C. Alan Walker, a former coal baron and prominent Republican donor, gained unanimous support to oversee the PA's Department of Community and Economic Development.

More Reasons to Question Whether Gas Is Cleaner Than Coal

Evidence continues to mount saying that natural gas is not be as clean as we like to think.

Pa.’s New Jobs Czar Fought Enviro Regs for Years

Pennsylvania's governor has asked C. Alan Walker to promote job growth by helping companies get the permits that they need. But Walker's personal business history raises a crucial question: How might an anti-regulation coal mogul affect the state's environmental regulations for the Marcellus Shale?

Deteriorating Oil and Gas Wells Threaten Drinking Water, Homes Across the Country

Oil, gas and tainted water can seep through abandoned gas and oil wells into drinking water sources and sometimes into septic systems. But most states don't have enough money to plug them.

Pennsylvania Limits Authority of Oil and Gas Inspectors

A leaked memo says oil and gas inspectors can no longer issue violations to drilling companies in the Marcellus Shale without first getting the approval of top officials.

PA Governor Gives Energy Executive Supreme Authority Over Environmental Permitting

Pennsylvania’s governor has appointed an energy industry executive to oversee the state’s job creation effort and wants to give him unusual authority to streamline state permits, including for gas drilling.

Former Bush EPA Official Says Fracking Exemption Went Too Far; Congress Should Revisit

Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the Environmental Protection Agency in the George W. Bush administration, ponders criticism leveled at a 2004 study on hydraulic fracturing and suggests that it's now time for Congress and the EPA to take another look at the practice.

Natural Gas Drilling Debate Heats Up: Read Our Guide

The possible dangers of gas drilling, including the process known as hydraulic fracturing, are drawing more attention from the media as gas drilling expands across the United States. Here’s a quick breakdown of the key issues, drawn from ProPublica’s reporting.

Hydrofracked? One Man’s Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling

When the well water on Louis Meeks' ranch turned brown and oily, he suspected that the thousands of natural gas wells dotting the once-empty Wyoming landscape were somehow to blame. The hard part was proving it.

John Hanger, PA’s Former Environmental Chief, Talks About Challenges of Keeping Gas Drilling Safe

The former head of Pennsylvania's environmental agency defends his department, but says more work is needed to protect the state's natural resources from gas drilling.

EPA Wants to Look at Full Lifecycle of Fracking in New Study

An EPA study would be the most comprehensive investigation yet of whether hydraulic fracturing risks polluting drinking water near oil and gas wells across the nation.

Anatomy of a Gas Well: What Happened When a Well Was Drilled in a National Forest

A U.S. Forest Service report chronicles the damage done by a gas well in the Monongahela National Forest, deep in the mountains of West Virginia.

Many PA Gas Wells Go Unreported for Months

With Pennsylvania not enforcing reporting rules, regulators may lack details on some wells until months after they are drilled.

Drilling Industry Says Diesel Use Was Legal

After three members of Congress found that drilling companies used more than 32 million gallons of diesel fuel to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells between 2005 and 2009, the industry is fighting back.

Clearing the Air on ProPublica’s Drilling Pollution Story

ProPublica responds to a pro-drilling industry group that questioned the veracity of its story on greenhouse gas emissions from gas fields

In Symbolic Move, Philadelphia Calls for Gas Drilling Ban

Philadelphia officials recommended holding off on drilling in the watershed that provides the city’s drinking water until an EPA fracking study is finished. The city is the latest of several local governments to call for drilling bans.

Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated

New emissions estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency cast doubt on the assumption that gas offers a quick and easy solution to climate change.

As Pennsylvania Implements New Wastewater Rules, Some State Waterways Still Face Problems

Many of Pennsylvania’s waterways suffer from high levels of contaminants found in gas drilling wastewater. New state regulations are supposed to help, but their immediate effects are hard to gauge.

Opponents to Fracking Disclosure Take Big Money From Industry

The Interior Department wades into controversy as it mulls whether to require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals they use to frack wells drilled on public lands.

Pennsylvania’s Governor-Elect Nominates Insiders for Top Environmental Posts

New faces will oversee the expanding gas drilling industry in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale.

Pennsylvania’s Drilling Wastewater Released to Streams, Some Unaccounted For

As gas-drilling operations proliferated in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale over the past couple of years, most of the hundreds of millions of gallons of briny wastewater they produced was eventually dumped into the state’s rivers. Much of the rest is unaccounted for.

Regulation and Disclosure of Fracking at the Center of Gas Drilling Debate

The use of a mix of water and chemicals, known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has generated controversy and a series of studies, orders and regulations in 2010 from the federal government and a number of states on the topic of gas drilling.

Residents Divided About PA’s Agreement With Gas Drilling Company Over Water Contamination

Residents of Dimock, Pa., are surprised -- and in some cases upset -- by a settlement that state environmental regulators reached last week with Cabot Oil & Gas, which the Department of Environmental Protection says contaminated local water from its gas drilling operations.

Executive Order Suspending Fracking Brings Little Change

Gov. David Paterson recently issued an executive order suspending the approval of certain types of gas drilling permits. But his action did little to change the status quo, because the DEC had already stopped issuing such permits.

Some Appointees to Oil and Gas Commission Are Industry Execs, Lobbyists

Industry executives and lobbyists hold positions on an interstate oil and gas commission that espouses the safety of hydraulic fracturing.

Beyond Fracking: Experts Challenge Safety of Exploratory Wells, Vertical Drilling

Expert testimony for an administrative hearing disputes the safety of exploratory wells and vertical drilling.

NY Assembly Approves Hydraulic Fracturing Moratorium

The New York state legislature gave its final approval to a bill that would, if signed by the governor, place a hold on new fracking until May 2011.

Pittsburgh Bans Natural Gas Drilling

Citing health and environmental concerns, Pittsburgh’s city council unanimously passes a ban on natural gas drilling within city limits.

Halliburton’s Stonewalling Works in Pa., but Sparks Subpoena at EPA

Halliburton’s refusal to give the EPA a list of its fracking chemicals may seem risky, but its anti-disclosure campaign appears to be working in Pennsylvania.

Interview: Former NY Environmental Commissioner Pete Grannis on Gas Drilling

Recently ousted New York environmental commissioner Pete Grannis talks to ProPublica about hydraulic fracturing, his time as a regulator and the future of natural gas drilling in America.

Science Says Methane in PA. Water Is from Drilling, Not Natural Causes

Testing has shown that methane gas in water wells across the country matches the methane being drilled for natural gas supplies. But a woman quoted in a New York Times report hinted that in Pennsylvania -- despite state official's conclusions to the contrary -- that may not be the case.

Two Companies Seek Trade Secret Status for Fracking Fluids in Wyoming

New rules in Wyoming require natural gas drilling companies to disclose the makeup of their hydraulic fracturing fluids, but two chemical manufacturers don't want to share their formulas with the public.

Leaked Memo Depicts Bare-Bones Regulatory Environment for NY Gas Drilling

Memo from fired New York environmental chief says Paterson budget cuts would make it harder to clean up spills, respond to natural gas drilling in New York state.

Pa. Environmental Agency Butts Heads With Gas Drilling Company Over Town’s Water Woes

Environmental regulators in Pennsylvania say they’ll likely end up in court with a gas drilling company they say has contaminated the drinking water supply for families living in Dimock, Pa.

Wyoming Fracking Rules Would Disclose Drilling Chemicals

New rules place Wyoming at the forefront of the national push to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

Do ‘Environmental Extremists’ Pose Criminal Threat to Gas Drilling?

A state bulletin warns that environmental "extremists" may target public hearings and other events for criminal activity to protest natural gas drilling in rural parts of Pennsylvania, but drilling opponents say the threat is exaggerated.

Feds Warn Residents Near Wyoming Gas Drilling Sites Not to Drink Their Water

The federal government is warning residents in a small Wyoming town with extensive natural gas development not to drink their water.

What You Need to Know About Hydrofracking

PBS "Need to Know" Focuses on hydraulic fracturing.

Drilling Industry and Gubernatorial Candidates Move to Weaken Some State Regulations

The drilling industry is seeking to weaken state regulations, especially in Colorado and New Mexico.

New York Senate Passes Temporary Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

New York senate passes a bill that could effectively ban most gas and oil drilling until May 15.

Why Gas Leaks Matter in the Hydraulic Fracturing Debate

Why methane contamination is a bellwether issue in discussion of the safety of hydraulic fracturing.

Drilling Accountability Bill Would Regulate Fracturing Too

A Senate bill to crack down on oil drillers includes a measure to protect groundwater from natural gas drilling.

Information From Gas-Drilling Companies Isn’t Coming Easily, Congressmen Say

A congressional committee has been trying -- without success -- to get some answers from gas companies involved in hydraulic fracturing.

Drilling Company Says It Will List Hazardous Chemicals Used in Fracking

Range Resources plans to disclose details of the chemicals it uses to drill for natural gas in Pennsylvania.

For Gas-Drilling Data, There’s a New Place to Dig

A new website lets users post and find information about natural gas drilling and where it is happening.

A Fracking First in Pennsylvania: Cattle Quarantine

After contaminated wastewater from hydraulic fracturing leaks into a nearby pasture, Pennsylvania agriculture officials issue a quarantine to keep 28 beef cattle off the market.

Broad Scope of EPA’s Fracturing Study Raises Ire of Gas Industry

A new EPA study of hydraulic fracturing is expected to provide a broad look at the natural gas drilling process, including injection spills, leaks and water contamination incidents.

EPA Launches National Study of Hydraulic Fracturing

The U.S. EPA plans a nationwide study to see if reported water contamination in gas drilling areas is caused by the practice of injecting chemicals and water underground to fracture the gas-bearing rock.

Gas Drillers Plead Guilty to Felony Dumping Violations

Two men face possible prison time and steep fines for dumping wastewater into an abandoned oil well in Pennsylvania.

Congress Launches Investigation Into Gas Drilling Practices

A House committee is investigating potential environmental impacts from hydraulic fracturing, as two companies acknowledge using diesel-based fluids in their wells.

Natural Gas Drilling: What We Don’t Know

The issues surrounding the production of natural gas are far less settled than the industry contends.

State Oil and Gas Regulators Are Spread Too Thin to Do Their Jobs

As the gas drilling industry has boomed nationwide, the number of inspectors looking for violations has not kept pace, with some wells going uninspected for years.

Drilling Wastewater Disposal Options in N.Y. Report Have Problems of Their Own

A New York report on drilling in the Marcellus Shale lists options for disposing of the wastewater, but the operators of those facilities say those options aren't feasible.

In New Gas Wells, More Drilling Chemicals Remain Underground

Hydraulic fracturing is exempted from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, but new information raises questions about that exemption.

New York City Calls for Drilling Ban in Watershed, Rejects State Study

New York City officials have called for a ban on natural gas drilling within the city’s 2,000-square-mile upstate watershed.

Colorado Towns Take Extra Measures to Protect Their Water From Gas Drilling

With federal land opened for drilling, two wary communities helped to set the terms.

Underused Drilling Practices Could Avoid Pollution

Innovative industry solutions that may make it easier to exploit U.S. gas reserves with less water and air pollution have not played a prominent role in the national debate over how to drill safely.

Pa. Residents Sue Gas Driller for Contamination, Health Concerns

Dimock residents seek to stop Cabot Oil and Gas from drilling in the Marcellus Shale, and want a trust fund for medical treatments.

New Yorkers Tell State Enviro Department: ‘No Fracking Way’

Opponents of gas drilling in the New York City watershed speak out strongly at a hearing in Manhattan.

Congress Tells EPA to Study Hydraulic Fracturing

Legislation calls for a new review of a 2004 report in which the Environmental Protection Agency gave its blessing to the controversial drilling method.

Is New York’s Marcellus Shale Too Hot to Handle?

Wastewater from gas drilling sites is found to be radioactive, leaving big questions about its treatment and disposal.

Pennsylvania Tells Drilling Company to Clean Up Its Act

Cabot Oil and Gas is fined $120,000 and faces stricter regulations after a series of spills and accidents.

Public Gets More Time to Comment on New York’s Gas Drilling Plans

An extra month is allotted for people to study an environmental assessment of drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Does Chesapeake’s No-Drilling Pledge Do Enough to Protect NYC’s Watershed?

An energy company sends mixed messages on drilling, and some lawmakers and environmentalists continue to push for a ban.

Feisty Audience Tackles Natural Gas Drilling Report

At a hearing in Sullivan County, N.Y., anxious residents complain that they will have little control over drilling while directly feeling its effects.

Company Won’t Drill in NYC Watershed

Chesapeake Energy says it will not drill for natural gas in New York City's upstate watershed.

New York City Hints at Anti-Drilling Stance

A top environmental official makes strong comments about protecting the city's water supply, but the Bloomberg administration isn't taking a firm stance yet.

New York Drilling Study a Step Forward

New York's review of the environmental risks posed by natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale offers the clearest picture yet of the chemicals used in the drilling process called hydraulic fracturing.

Gas Drilling Vs. Drinking Water: New York City Consultant’s Report Sets Stage for Fight With Albany

Reports done for the state and the city differ in their assessments of the environmental risks posed by drilling.

With Natural Gas Drilling Boom, Pennsylvania Faces an Onslaught of Wastewater

Contamination in the Monongahela River has raised questions about how Pennsylvania will handle the volume of wastewater produced by oil and gas wells.

Gas Execs Call for Disclosure of Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing

Because of growing concern about water contamination, some in the gas industry say companies should be more open about the chemicals used in drilling.

New York State Paves Way for Gas Drilling With Release of Environmental Review

A new review by a state agency proposes guidelines for hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale, but would not ban drilling within the New York City watershed.

Pennsylvania Orders Cabot Oil and Gas to Stop Fracturing in Troubled County

The shutdown of natural-gas drilling operations follows three recent chemical spills in Susquehanna County.

DEP Issues Citation to Pennsylvania Driller as a Third Spill Occurs

Cabot Oil and Gas is charged with five violations, and a state official expresses "great concern" over problems at a well near Dimock.

Frack Fluid Spill in Dimock Contaminates Stream, Killing Fish

Another contamination incident adds to the list of problems involving natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania.

EPA: Chemicals Found in Wyo. Drinking Water Might Be From Fracking

Contaminated wells in Wyoming could become the first to be scientifically linked to a gas-drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing.

More Gas Contamination Affects Pennsylvania Residents

Pennsylvania officials are investigating another natural gas well leak in Lycoming County.

Water Problems From Drilling Are More Frequent Than PA Officials Said

Methane related to the natural gas industry has contaminated water wells in at least seven Pennsylvania counties since 2004.

Inhofe Defends Hydraulic Fracturing on Senate Floor

The Oklahoma senator warned that legislation regulating the natural gas drilling process would be a "disaster."

Democrats Call for Studies as Industry Assails Proposals to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing

Legislators who've been pushing a bill to regulate a controversial natural gas drilling process are now calling for further scientific study, a change in tack made under intense lobbying pressure and after a personal request from Colorado's Democratic governor.

Energy Industry Sways Congress With Misleading Data

The two key arguments that the oil and gas industry is using to fight federal regulation of the natural gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing are challenged by the same data and reports the industry is using to bolster its position.

FRAC Act—Congress Introduces Twin Bills to Control Drilling and Protect Drinking Water

Legislation would give the EPA oversight of a drilling process that is suspected of contaminating aquifers.

Industry Defends Federal Loophole for Drilling Before Packed Congressional Hearing

An oil and gas process called hydraulic fracturing is exempt from federal oversight, but Congress may change that.

Natural Gas Drilling Debate Heats Up

With growing evidence of water contamination, the gas industry tries to head off new rules from Congress.

Natural Gas Politics

Natural gas drilling is exempt from restrictions of the Safe Drinking Water Act, but congressional Democrats are working on legislation to change that.

EPA Administrator Forecasts Potential Shift on Bush-Era Drilling Loophole

Environmentalists want the government to start regulating the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing.

16 Cattle Drop Dead Near Mysterious Fluid at Gas Drilling Site

The chemicals that companies use to develop natural gas reserves remain closely guarded -- and unregulated -- secrets.

Officials in Three States Pin Water Woes on Gas Drilling

Methane has been seeping into aquifers across North America, raising questions about the risks of natural gas production..

Anatomy of a Gas Well

Colorado Study Links Methane in Water to Drilling

Gas wells are the focus of a contamination investigation outside Denver, the latest in a series of such cases that have popped up around the country .

Setting the Record Straight on Hydraulic Fracturing

Details of the drilling process remain unknown, but the cases of water contamination are beyond dispute.

Where Things Stand: Environmental Pitfalls of Drilling for Natural Gas in the U.S.

The discovery of contaminated water has brought calls to slow down the unbridled production of natural gas across the country.

How the West’s Energy Boom Could Threaten Drinking Water for 1 in 12 Americans

The Colorado River, vital but in trouble, now faces growing danger from drilling.

NYC: Gas Drilling Will Raise the Cost of Water by 30 Percent

If reservoirs in the Catskills are tainted, the city may need to build a water treatment plant.

NYC Wants Consultants to Probe Effect of Gas Drilling on Drinking Water

Officials worry that upstate drilling will taint reservoirs that the city depends on.

New Mexico Battles Feds to Stop Gas Drilling Near an Aquifer

The Bureau of Land Management approved energy exploration in a federal wilderness area, but state officials say the agency ignored big risks.

A Reporter’s Journey Through the Gas Fields

Graphic: Hydraulic Fracturing

What is hydraulic fracturing?

Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering U.S. Water Supplies?

Contamination cases have followed the EPA's blessing of a widely used drilling process.

What Is Hydraulic Fracturing?

N.Y. Plans to Consider Law Limiting Natural Gas Drilling

State and local lawmakers are seeking to permanently ban drilling in the New York City watershed.

Fractured Relations—New York City Sees Drilling as Threat to Its Water Supply

The state says gas production in the Marcellus Shale won't hurt the environment, but city officials aren't satisfied.

Despite New York’s Order for Environmental Review, Gas Drilling May Proceed

The governor moves to bring the state up to date with drilling technology, while the gas industry moves ahead.

Governor Signs Drilling Bill But Orders Environmental Update

A state review will examine the impact of new drilling techniques on water quality.

New York State Tightens Drilling Controls

A new requirement will force natural gas companies to disclose the chemicals they use in production.

New York’s Gas Rush Poses Environmental Threat

State regulators are struggling to keep up with complicated efforts to extract natural gas.

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