Photo by EPI2oh

To feed its energy demands, the United States is looking for energy in increasingly far-flung environments such as: Ultra-deep offshore oil wells, the Arctic, shale rock formations 20,000 feet underground. The risks involved are often greater, but the industry lacks a set of “best practices” for these new frontiers of energy exploration.

That's a need that researchers at the University of Texas and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hope to fill. Scientists at both colleges are teaming up to create some guidelines for industry. Their focus would range from guiding principles to government policies to the engineering needs required to reduce environmental impact.

Eddie Seal/Texas Tribune

President Obama has praised the potential of American natural gas as “enormous," saying exploration for the energy source was something both Democrats and Republicans could support.

But internal documents from the Energy Information Agency (EIA), obtained by the New York Times, indicate some administration officials fear the natural gas industry is experiencing an investment bubble that “may be set up for failure.”

Graphic courtesy the EPA

The North Texas Barnett Shale has been added to an Environmental Protection Agency study. The congressionally mandated report will look into potential affects of hydraulic fracturing on water resources.

Photo by dasroofless

The controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to remove oil and gas from beneath shale rock has faced environmental criticism for generating loud noise, stamping a foot print in the wilderness, and pumping large amounts of undisclosed chemicals deep into the earth. Now the practice being used to unlock vast reserves of domestic energy is coming under fire for another reason: the amount of water it uses.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

A bill that would require natural gas drillers to disclose the mix of chemicals they use in a controversial process called hydraulic fracturing has apparently gone under the radar of the state senator in charge of overseeing the industry.

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

A team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin will investigate the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking", a process used to extract natural gas from shale rock. Fracking has become a widespread practice in the United States and Texas for extracting vast reserves of domestic energy, but it is also the subject of fierce criticism from environmentalists who say it pollutes ground water and air.

Photo by Wigwam Jones

Cornell University researchers are about to publish scientific evidence that a controversial method to drill for natural gas used in Texas and elsewhere is more damaging to the environment than using coal for energy production, reports The Hill.