Most would consider this greatly increased availability of natural gas as a highly favorable development for the public interest. Yet a number of controversies have emerged that must be resolved in order for the full benefit of shale gas to be fully realized. The US and the world are in
great need of the energy from shale gas resources. In particular, the energy security of the US is greatly enhanced by the full availability of shale gas. At the same time, the resource must be developed with due care for human health and the environment. Meeting these requirements – and addressing controversies – requires carefully-crafted policies and regulations to enhance the public interest in shale gas development.
The Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin has funded the initiative leading to this report to promote shale gas policies and regulations that are based on facts – that are well grounded in scientific understanding – rather than claims or perceptions.