more regulationsMay 4 2012 at 1:45 PM
does it speed the delivery of products or services?
does it protect the environment?
does it lower the costs for the producers and consumers?
I had a water well fracked 10 years ago. A little added sulfur, and so much more water than previous. I would run out after an hour of use, and have to wait several hours for a recovery. Not afterwards. I thought about adding a new pump to take advantage of the increased flow. Was it harmful to the environment? NO. It was well contained in the section of the well that they targeted. Just cracks the rocks to improve the material flow.
Obama tightens fracking rules
The Obama administration tightened rules on hydraulic fracturing Friday, requiring the disclosure of chemicals used in the process when done on federal and American Indian lands.
The new rules will also require additional testing of oil and gas well construction and require the industry to have a management plan for the water used in the process.
"This proposed rule will strengthen the requirements for hydraulic fracturing performed on federal and Indian lands in order to build public confidence and protect the health of American communities, while ensuring continued access to the important resources that make up our energy economy," the Interior Department said in a statement.
The move is part of a broader administration effort to increase rules for the controversial practice. Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency tightened air pollution requirements for new oil and gas wells.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is known, has unleashed a boom in energy production in the United States, reducing the country's oil imports, boosting natural gas production and providing thousands of jobs.
But the process has also raised fears of ground water contamination. Fracking involves injecting water, and and some chemicals deep into the earth to crack shale rock, which allows oil and gas to more easily flow. Critics fear the chemicals are seeping into the groundwater.
About 20% of the nation's natural gas production and 30% of its oil production is done on federal lands.
The oil and gas industry has long resisted disclosing what chemicals it uses in the fracking process, arguing they were trade secrets and that disclosure would harm their competitive advantage.
But environmentalists and public health officials lobbied for the disclosure, saying it was needed to monitor for pollution and effectively treat workers involved in accidents.
The ingredients used in fracking vary widely, and can include everything from sulfuric acid and benzene to instant coffee and paraffin wax.
While the industry initially resisted disclosing the formula, it has gradually been moving in that direction under intense public pressure. Many states now require disclosure, and many companies list at least some of the ingredients on a website called FracFocus.
Environmentalists were pleased with Friday's announcement but said even more should be done.
They said the new rules only require chemical disclosure after the fracturing has been done. What's needed, they say, is disclosure before the job so residents can do baseline testing of their water.
"We think the administration can and should have done more here to protect human health and the environment," said Amy Mall, a policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council. The government "should not propose rules that are weaker than what any state has on the books."
Most fracking regulations are controlled by the states, but environmentalists have argued that the federal government should play a greater role.
Obama tightens oil and gas drilling regulations
The industry maintains the state rules are sufficient, and having the federal government involved adds an unnecessary layer of regulation that is both costly and time consuming.
But the trend has been moving toward an increased federal role. Many analysts say the increased regulation is both necessary to convince the public the process is safe and affordable for the industry.
The Obama administration is generally supportive of fracking, but with increased oversight.
There still exists two extremes in this fight, with some in the industry opposing any new rules and some critics arguing the process should be banned altogether.
- With this kind of absurdity, - Anonymous on May 4, 1:59 PM
- just think how much the Affordable Care Act - Anonymous on May 4, 4:43 PM
- it is good because it helps those less fortunite. - Anonymous on May 5, 11:53 AM
- Re: it is good because it helps those less fortunite. - Anonymous on May 5, 11:58 AM
- never will - ricardo on May 5, 3:11 PM
- yes it's great to help - Anonymous on May 7, 8:29 AM