Fracking Industry Fights Federal Regulation, Preferring Less Well-Funded States
The federal government is taking action to reduce pollution stemming from hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), which has led to resistance from companies that prefer to deal only with state regulators.
Under new rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, drillers must inform Washington via email two days before they extract natural gas through fracking. The intent behind the requirement is to strengthen Clean Air Act standards by reducing emissions from volatile organic compounds.
According to OMB Watch, a nonpartisan watchdog organization, industry lobbyists are attempting to eliminate the new rule, so that drillers can go back to dealing just with state governments.
The problem with this development is that state regulators often lack the necessary funding to properly protect the public from the dangers associated with fracking, based on a new report from the Government Accountability Office.
Having the states in charge of limiting fracking-related pollution could prove troubling in areas where drilling is the heaviest. In Pennsylvania, which sits atop a portion of The Marcellus Shale and its bounty of natural gas, more than 3,000 natural gas wells have been drilled in the past two years, with another 2,000 approved for permits.
To Learn More:
Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Key Environmental and Public Health Requirements (Government Accountability Office) (pdf)
Breaking All the Rules: The Crisis in Oil & Gas Regulatory Enforcement (by Lisa Sumi, Earthworks)
Environmentalists Sue State over Letting Drillers Frack without Oversight (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)
Pennsylvania Republicans Protect Suburbs from Fracking, but Give Go-Ahead in Rural Counties (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)
Fracking Pipelines Currently Unregulated (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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