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Choke Point: U.S. | MultiMedia

One of the last wells drilled into Michigan's Antrim shale was completed early last week in Benzie County. A new and deeper natural gas play appears to be unfolding as developers pay record amounts for oil and gas leases and a lone Missaukee well turned out to be a prodigious gas producer.

The contest between coal-fired energy production and water demand is a mismatch. Mining and burning coal accounts for half of all water withdrawals in the United States, which is the same amount of water that pours over Niagara Falls in five months. Burning coal in power plants also is the source of more climate-changing carbon emissions than any other industrial sector. Here's a look at the economically essential and ecologically damaging accord between coal and water.

Choke Point: U.S.

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