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Image description: This graphic describes the sources of electricity generation for the United States in 2011. Coal provided 42 percent of electricity, followed by natural gas at 25 percent, nuclear power at 19 percent and renewable sources at 13 percent.
Of renewable sources, hydroelectric power (mostly from dams) lead the way at 63 percent. Learn more about the use of renewable sources of energy in the U.S.
Infographic courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Image description: This graphic describes the sources of electricity generation for the United States in 2011. Coal provided 42 percent of electricity, followed by natural gas at 25 percent, nuclear power at 19 percent and renewable sources at 13 percent.

Of renewable sources, hydroelectric power (mostly from dams) lead the way at 63 percent. Learn more about the use of renewable sources of energy in the U.S.

Infographic courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

What agency has jurisdiction over Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in drilling for natural gas and oil, the EPA or DOE or who?

Asked by an anonymous Tumblr user.

Hydraulic fracturing involves the high-pressure injection of substances into already drilled oil and gas wells in order to fracture the underground formations holding the oil or gas. 

Individual states regulate fracturing that occurs within their borders, and they have different rules over the use of the process. According to a Congressional Research Service report dated April 10, 2012, “Hydraulic Fracturing and Safe Drinking Water Act Issues,” numerous states are reviewing or have revised their oil and gas rules to address the increased use of hydraulic fracturing. 

As for federal government regulation, the Safe Drinking Water Act provides the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the authority to regulate fracturing only when diesel fuel is used in the process. Currently, the EPA is performing a long term study on fracturing and how it may impact drinking water. The study should be finished late this year.  

There are also several bills on the subject that are pending in Congress. House of Representatives bill 1084 and Senate bill 587 would allow the EPA to regulate fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Senate bill 2248 and House of Representatives bill 4322 would specify that a state has sole authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands within state boundaries.

If you’re looking for ways to save on energy, the Department of Energy has tips on selecting heating and cooling systems.

Find answers to your questions about the new standards and learn more about affordable lighting choices.

Asked by Anonymous

Are there any funds remaining for energy assistance for general public?

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help low-income households, particularly those that use a large portion of their income to pay for immediate energy needs. LIHEAP helps families pay their energy bill and provides assistance if the power company shuts off energy to the home.

LIHEAP issues grants to states. Each state can then give the money to people who meet the program requirements. Find out how to apply for LIHEAP in your state.

Financial assistance for energy efficient purchases and home improvements is also available. Learn more about energy related tax credits, rebates, and financing.