Full Title: Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Key Environmental and Public Health Requirements
Author(s): US Government Accountability Office
Publisher(s): US Government Accountability Office
Publication Date: 9/2012



Technological improvements have allowed the extraction of oil and natural gas from onshore unconventional reservoirs such as shale, tight sandstone, and coalbed methane formations. Specifically, advances in horizontal drilling techniques combined with hydraulic fracturing (pumping water, sand, and chemicals into wells to fracture underground rock formations and allow oil or gas to flow) have increased domestic development of oil and natural gas from these unconventional reservoirs. The increase in such development has raised concerns about potential environmental and public health effects and whether existing federal and state environmental and public health requirements are adequate.