Fracking for natural gas means energy independence. According to a survey of more than 100 energy executives, 70% of energy executives, believe that given a true national commitment, the U.S. could achieve a energy independence within 15 years. However, among the 70% only 21% believe the energy goal is feasible with regulation and political consensus.

The Obama Administration supports advancement in drilling for natural gas, but not without tightened regulations for the oil and gas industry. The Administration will ask drillers to capture air pollutants released in new wells. In order to reach energy independence, fracking challenges need to be addressed.

Gina McCarthy, an assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said, the new standards will take full effect at the beginning of 2015, and “will reduce smog-forming air pollution along with cancer-causing air toxins.”

“Smog formation has been linked to various health ills including asthma attacks, emergency room visits and premature deaths,” she added.

The rule regarding air pollution is the first attempted regulate the fracking industry. What will the next regulation be? When will it be issued?

In order to control air pollutants, natural gas operators must use new technology that prevents gas from escaping operators. By 2015 all operators will have to use green completions. The EPA estimates that about 13,000 wells are fractured or re-fractured each year in the United States.

“This is the first national standard to reduce air pollution from hydraulically fractured wells,” McCarthy said. “When implemented, it will require operators to capture gas that would otherwise escape into the air, keeping harmful pollution out of the air.”

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