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Hydraulic Fracturing

What Is Hydraulic Fracturing?

The Marcellus Shale could meet all the United States' natural gas needs for more than two years, according to some geologists. With energy prices reaching record highs, at least nine companies are trying to lock up leases to drill in the Marcellus Shale, which lies as much as 9,000 feet beneath the earth's surface under New York, Pennsylvania and the southern Appalachian states.

In New York, extracting natural gas from the shale would involve deeper, more complicated wells than the state has previously licensed. Each of those wells, possibly numbering in the thousands, would suck up and later spit out as much as five million gallons of water in a process called horizontal hydraulic fracturing, placing an unprecedented burden on New York's watersheds, including those that feed New York City's reservoirs and farmland in Chemung, Tioga, Broome and Sullivan Counties. Roughly 200 tanker trucks would transport the water to each well.