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Technology & Innovation

America’s Natural Gas Dilemma

The Amwell Township of western Pennsylvania sits on one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves. But are the political benefits of mining natural gas worth the human costs?

What’s the Latest Development?

The effects of natural gas mining in the western Pennsylvania township of Amwell have been regrettable. Resident Stacey Haney calls her family farm house a $300,000 cat mansion since her doctor advised her to relocate the family due to health concerns. In fact, Haney has spent most of the money she received by leasing her land to gas companies on medical bills. Natural gas mining uses a hydraulic fracturing technique, known as fracking, to break apart rocks below the surface, releasing gas deposits.

What’s the Big Idea?

While the rest of the nation looks to Pennsylvania as a test case for gas mining, families in Amwell face the costs of economic development. The discovery of massive gas deposits across the nation could enable the U.S. to decrease its dependence on foreign oil while developing a domestic energy source. But those concerns must be balance with the human costs of fracking. Currently, gas companies are not required to disclose which chemicals they use to mine and regulation on the toxic discharge has been poorly implemented.


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