updated 3/3/2011 4:17:45 PM ET 2011-03-03T21:17:45

STAMFORD, Conn., March 3, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In recent years the new process of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", has seem poised to transform the natural gas industry. Allowing natural gas production companies to tap into huge gas reserves by releasing natural gas molecules trapped in shale, fracking has been seen as a potential answer to America's energy problems and freedom from dependence on the Middle East. However, it now appears any independence may come at a very serious price.

In a New York Times investigative piece published this weekend, it appears there are serious environmental dangers posed by hydraulic fracturing. Two members of the House of Representatives have written letters to the Environmental Protection Agency calling for immediate action to address the health issues related to fracturing. The Times expose reveals a serious risk of major water contamination. Using hydraulic fracturing a natural gas well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often highly contaminated with toxic and radioactive elements, at times hundreds or even thousands of times higher than drinking water standards. This wastewater is often pumped back into nearby water systems sometimes upstream from water treatment plants.

Following the release of the Times report many people are pointing to lax government regulations and oversight and economic pressure as contributing factors to the problem.

"Thus far the demand for new energy, as well as the understandable pressure to create new jobs and tax revenues in states like Pennsylvania, has resisted the demand for more stringent environmental regulations," says Jeffrey Mayer, President and CEO of MXenergy, one of the nations leading independent energy providers. "That could soon change."

One possibility for that change may lay in new technologies being developed by energy companies that include fracturing with various types of gases – propane, nitrogen, carbon dioxide – which can increase well productivity and reduce the amount of water usage and eliminate water contaminants. 

A reduction or elimination in hydraulic fracturing could have a dramatic impact on an already volatile energy market and potentially lead to higher prices for consumers.

"Our business is designed to help consumers control their energy bills. Our customers rely on us to take the risks that they would otherwise face," says Mayer. "We are always paying very close attention to the energy supply and constantly searching for the cleanest, most environmentally friendly technology and source of energy production."

MXenergy, which supplies natural gas to fifteen states, including New York and Pennsylvania does not purchase natural gas from any of the companies cited in the New York Times article.

MXenergy

MXenergy is one of the fastest growing retail natural gas and electricity suppliers in North America, serving approximately 500,000 customers in 41 utility territories in the United States and Canada. For over 11 years, the company has provided millions of customers with a choice in how they purchase energy to run their homes and businesses. Founded in 1999 to provide natural gas and electricity to consumers in deregulated energy markets, MXenergy helps residential customers and small business owners control their energy bills by providing both fixed and variable rate plans. MXenergy is committed to best practices in environmental conservation, supporting local communities through various outreach programs and is a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange. More information can be found at www.mxenergy.com

CONTACT:  Marjorie Kass 
          (203) 356-1318 ext. 7801
          Managing Director - Brand Management & Communications
          mkass@mxenergy.com
         
          Laurel O'Connor
          (209) 782-7212
          NorthStar Media Management LLC
          laurel@northstarmediamanagement.com

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 5.09%
$30K home equity loan FICO 5.21%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.67%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 13.34%
13.34%
Cash Back Cards 17.82%
17.82%
Rewards Cards 17.07%
17.07%
Source: Bankrate.com