Jan 24 2013, 11:48pm CST | by Luigi Lugmayr
Fracking is controversial and involves pumping a pressurized fluid - usually composed of water, sand and chemicals - into the shale formation to create a fracture in the rock layer and release trapped petroleum or natural gas.
The process has been used in the US for about three decades, but new technologies have allowed energy companies to reach oil and gas deposits that were previously inaccessible.
Environmentalists oppose hydraulic fracturing on the grounds that it pollutes the soil and aquifers.
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