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UB study says fracking has become safer in Pennsylvania

A University at Buffalo Shale Institute study of hydrofracking will no doubt raise eyebrows, especially in those organizations that have been most outspoken against the controversial method of extracting natural gas.

The study, which its co-authors say was funded entirely by UB, looked at the environmental impacts during Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania from January 2008 to August 2011. 

Author Timothy Considine with the University of Wyoming Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy says data demonstrate that major and minor environmental incidents attributed to hydrofracking dropped dramatically in Pennsylvania from January 2008 to August 2011.

The study shows that the method for extracting natural gas from deep beneath the surface of the the earth, if it is closely monitored by state regulatory agencies with responsible drilling companies strictly following state regulations, can be done safely with little environmental risk.

"The data show that the incidence of environmental incidents has been declining. Secondly, both the regulation and industry practice has been mitigating the environmental impacts of any remaining events that may occur," Considine said.

"Our analysis...strongly reflects that Pennsylvania state regulators have been intensely scrutinizing natural gas development companies, and these companies are responding," he added.

New York is weighing whether to allow hydrofracking. The state continues sorting through thousands of public comments.

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