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Hydraulic fracturing has helped to expand natural gas production around the world, unlocking large natural gas supplies in shale and other unconventional formations across the country. As a result of hydraulic fracturing and advances in horizontal drilling technology, natural gas production in 2010 reached the highest level in decades.
According to new estimates by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States possesses natural gas resources sufficient to supply the United States for approximately 110 years. As the use of hydraulic fracturing has grown, so have concerns about its environmental and public health impacts. One concern is that hydraulic fracturing fluids used to fracture rock formations contain numerous chemicals that could harm human health and the environment, especially if they enter drinking water supplies. The opposition of many oil and gas companies to public disclosure of the chemicals they use has compounded this concern.