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A natural gas boom is underway in the U.S., with more than 200,000 wells drilled in the last decade.In states like Colorado, Texas, and Pennsylvania, residents who live close to the natural gas bonanza have the same questions: What kind of pollutants is the industrial activity putting into their water and air, and are those pollutants making them sick?NPR's science desk & KUNC explore why there aren't solid answers to those questions yet...

The Spotlight: The Power of One Election & America's Energy Future

American Public Media
Host of BURN, Alex Chadwick

The Obama and Romney campaigns agree on the necessity of mining America's energy resources, but they differ on exactly how to do it.

The president advocates an "all of the above" strategy for energy exploration that equally favors wind, solar, and fossil fuels. Governor Romney says the president only likes "sources of energy that come above the ground, not those that come below the ground, like oil and gas and coal."

In this hour of BURN, host Alex Chadwick will parse the energy policies of the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees and examine how the outcome of November's election might shape the country's energy future.


BURN also follows a referendum initiative in Michigan to put a constitutionally mandated 25 percent renewable energy standard on the November 6 general election ballot. The proposal would require Michigan energy providers to produce a quarter of their electricity from sources such as wind and solar.

And BURN travels to Pennsylvania's natural gas-rich "Marcellus Shale" region that informs the national fracking controversy. The Marcellus Shale is a vast, underground repository of natural gas that runs beneath parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia. The extraction of that fossil fuel has helped resuscitate Pennsylvania's economy, providing residents with jobs and lucrative mineral leases.

Some argue that hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") -- the injection underground of vast quantities of water and chemicals to mine the natural gas -- is harmful to the environment. All this is the backdrop to BURN's story, which examines the impact natural gas exploration has had on Pennsylvania.

You can learn more online at burnanenergyjournal.com.

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