The EPA released released on Wednesday the rules of hydraulic fracturing, which is one of the first efforts to regulate the fracking process nationwide. The Obama administration gives approval to energy from shale,”a score for the oil and gas industry,” and gives companies some flexibility in complying with the new standards of the EPA.
Howard Feldman, regulatory director of the American Petroleum Institute, said the EPA would phase in the new rules, which would require all oil and natural-gas wells to be in compliance by January 2015 – The original proposal was to issue compliance immediately.
“Based on what we’ve heard, we are pleased that EPA has made some improvements in the rules,” Feldman said.
Lisa Jackson, the EPA chief, said “The president has been clear that he wants to continue to expand production of important domestic resources like natural gas, and today’s standard supports that goal while making sure these fuels are produced without threatening the health of the American people.”
The EPA is setting a standard that involves specialized pollution-control equipment that is relatively scarce – As a result the companies will have to scale back energy from shale production until the specialized equipment becomes available. However the new technology is said to reduce 95% of harmful emissions from wells using the new fracking technology. The technology is already being used in about half of the U.S. natural-gas wells.