Energy: Tapping the Riches of Shale

Venturesome companies bet big on "the rock that burns

Once again the turmoil in Iran emphasizes American dependence upon what Jimmy Carter calls the "thin line of oil tankers stretching halfway around the earth to one of the most unstable regions in the world." The drive to gain some freedom from OPEC by developing domestic energy sources has never been more pressing. Last week the Senate easily adopted by a vote of 65 to 19 a $20 billion synthetic-fuel program that, among other things, would turn the nation's vast coal deposits into oil and gas. But of all the old and new...

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