In Ohio, there was a brief moratorium earlier this year on the injection of fracking waste fluids deep into shale formations, but no outright bans on the entire fracking technology, says Kari Matsko, director of the People's Oil & Gas Collaborative-Ohio .
Sometimes called hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, the practice involves forcing pressurized water (containing chemicals) into shale formations to fracture the rock and release gas deposits. Fracking raises environmental issues because the practice requires lots of water. Opponents fear fracking can contaminate drinking water.
The energy industry disputes the potential risks, and stresses that shale gas has created jobs and lowered consumer fuel prices. The production of unconventional gas, including shale gas, supported more than 1 million jobs in 2010, and was forecast to grow to 1.4 million by 2015, according to a June 13, 2012 report by IHS Global Insight , an energy consultancy.
“When you look at the big picture, when you look at the numbers, the production numbers, the price numbers, the employment numbers, there is absolutely no doubt that this has had a fantastic impact on our country,” says Rayola Dougher, senior economic adviser for the American Petroleum Institute , which represents the petroleum and natural gas industry.
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