Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has put the U.S. in the lead for shale gas production around the world. Its a practice that may be less polluting than coal power, but still raises environmental concerns.
So the question on everyone’s mind, what's the reason for the recent boom in natural gas production nationwide?
According to government reports, the main reason for the rise in natural gas production is the money saving combination of horizontal drilling and the fracking process.
As fracking expands nationwide, the U.S. now leads the world in producing shale gas. Its a process that typically blasts large amount of water, mixed with sand and chemicals to break apart rock and allow the natural gas to flow from the shale into the well.
Many environmentalists oppose the process, because it can create waste water, or even trigger small earthquakes. But for as much controversy. That still surrounds fracking, local petroleum officials say you can't deny the economic recovery it's brought to areas including right here in the mountain state.
"We have enough natural gas as a nation to last us for the next 100 years, and our geologist estimate that there is enough in our reserves that we know about, and that we don't know about in the Marcellus Shale to supply our country with natural gas for the next 500 years." said Ron Walsmith, Coordinator Petroleum Technology at Pierpont Community and Technical College.
Many groups are still very worried about the long term uncertainties and effects on the environment.
"We need some kind of public oversight to make sure that the irresponsible operators in the industry don't make the push off all of the environmental cost onto the local residents." said Alan Septoff, Earth Works, Strategic Communications Director
In case you were wondering, according to reports from the energy information administration shale gas accounted for close to 40 percent of all natural gas produced last year in the U.S. beating out both Canada and China.