Drillers make rocks known as shale formations more permeable
though a method called hydraulic fracturing that allows the gas to
flow out. The process has been used for decades, but now companies
are "fracking" while also drilling horizontally, a tactic that
only became economically viable about 10 years ago.
The school said Monday the $300,000, nine-month study by UT's
Energy Institute will explore accusations that "fracking" has led
to water contamination and could cause other environmental damage.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also studying the
issue and plans to release its findings next year.