Advanced drilling techniques are opening up "unconventional" gas fields, but some observers say the drilling could harm the environment and raise questions such as whether water wells would be damaged and whether chemicals would pass into groundwater. New York Gov. David Paterson recently ordered the Department of Environmental Conservation to update its oil- and gas-drilling regulations to reflect the advanced drilling technology. Meanwhile, geologists say Marcellus shale underlying the Appalachians has enough natural gas to supply the U.S. for 14 years.

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