Congress commissioned the Environmental Protection Agency to study hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, after complaints that the process pollutes water. The EPA is slated to make public initial results of the study by the end of next year. Natural gas plays a key role in our nation’s clean energy future and the process known as hydraulic fracturing is one way of accessing that vital resource. Fracturing is used by gas producers to stimulate wells and recover natural gas from sources such as coalbeds and shale gas formations. Fracturing is also used for other applications including oil recovery. The study will investigate reported instances of drinking water contamination in three to five sites across the country where fracking has occurred.