Industry giant GE aims to improve fracking

Drilling rig at dawn
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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- One of America's corporate giants is investing billions of dollars in the new boom of oil and gas drilling, or fracking. General Electric Co. is opening a new laboratory in Oklahoma, buying up related companies and placing a big bet that cutting-edge science will improve profits for clients and reduce the environmental and health effects of the boom.

Environmentalist Michael Shellenberger calls it a "positive response to legitimate public concerns" about the impacts of the fracking boom.

Neil Donahue, a professor of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, says that GE might be able to make the process safer but that there is still a separate question of how society wants to balance the benefits and risks that come with fracking.

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