U.S. gas alliance defends industry record

June 21, 2012 at 8:42 AM

WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- An advocacy campaign targeting the U.S. natural gas industry is a misleading example of fear mongering, a trade alliance said.

Activist Josh Fox produced the 2010 documentary "Gasland" that brings up alleged dangers associated with hydraulic fracturing, a procedure used to coax natural gas out of underground rock formations. Fox is working on a sequel.

Fox, in an article published by the (Albany, N.Y) Times Union, writes that safe hydraulic fracturing, known also as fracking, is impossible "and the industry's claims for it are knowingly based on false premises."

Fox takes aim at the cementing process used to protect regional groundwater from natural gas wells. He says that because cement is permeable to a certain degree, wells "can never be made leakproof."

Tom Amontree, executive vice president for America's Natural Gas Alliance, argues in response that Fox's statements are misleading. Amontree says there are risks involved with all types of energy development.

"Natural gas is routinely developed in a safe and responsible manner in communities across our country," he said in a statement.

New drilling practices exposed natural gas deposits in the United States previously inaccessible. There are concerns, however, that the procedures come with substantial environmental risk because of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid.

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