Fracking in Pennsylvania is vital to natural gas develop, and strong commitment is needed in order to reach energy independence in the U.S. The U.S. has an abundance of natural gas and could see energy independence in as early as 15 years, according to industry experts.

In Pennsylvania, Marcellus Shale formations make up 60 percent of Pennsylvania’s total landmass. Marcellus Shale formations undergo a process called hydraulic fracturing that releases natural gas.

According a survey of more than 100 energy executive, 70% of those energy executives surveyed believed that, given a true national commitment, the U.S. could achieve a energy independence within 15 years. However, of the 70% only 21% believed the energy goal is feasible, given political consensus and regulations.

The Obama Administration set new standards for the oil and gas industry, and requires drillers to capture air pollutants released in new wells.

Gina McCarthy, an assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said, the new standards will take full effect at the beginning of 2015, and “will reduce smog-forming air pollution along with cancer-causing air toxins.”

“Smog formation has been linked to various health ills including asthma attacks, emergency room visits and premature deaths,” she added.

Until the new standards take full effect, natural gas operators must use a green technology to prevent gas from escaping or operators must flare gas emissions. By 2015 all operators will have to use green completions. The EPA estimates that about 13,000 wells are fractured or re-fractured each year in the United States.

“This is the first national standard to reduce air pollution from hydraulically fractured wells,” McCarthy said. “When implemented, it will require operators to capture gas that would otherwise escape into the air, keeping harmful pollution out of the air.”

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