Fracking Front …

feature photo photo: Chesapeake Energy
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MAJORITY FAVORS TIGHTER FRACKING REGULATION

The U.S. public favors greater regulation of hydraulic fracturing, a natural gas drilling technique that has reduced prices for consumers while raising environmental concerns.

More than three times as many Americans say there should be more regulation of fracturing, known as fracking, than less, according to a Bloomberg News National Poll conducted March 8-11. The findings coincide with recent surveys in Ohio and New York where people who believe fracking will cause environmental damage outnumber those who say the process is safe.

“That actually doesn’t surprise me,” Mark Boling, executive vice president for Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN), said of the poll results in an interview. “We have been so focused as an industry on figuring out how to crack the code and get these huge volumes of gas trapped in shale formations. We haven’t focused on the things we have to do differently above ground.” MORE …

EPA REGS COULD HAMPER OIL, NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION, REPORT SAYS

Despite rhetoric to the contrary, the Obama administration is poised to deal a major blow to U.S. oil and natural gas, a leading industry group charged Thursday.

Domestic production of both fuels could plummet if proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations, designed to limit emissions from well sites, go into effect later this year, according to an extensive new study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute.

The natural gas extraction technique known as “fracking” would be hardest hit, and fuel extracted via the popular process would drop by about 52 percent, according to a new study commissioned by API. Total gas production would decrease by about 11 percent, while domestic oil production could fall by as much as 37 percent, the report says. MORE …

TINY WYOMING TOWN PLAYS BIG ROLE IN FRACKING FIGHT

Chances are you’ve never heard of Pavillion, Wyo.

Little more than a blip on a map of the Great Plains, the town of 242 residents in Wyoming’s Fremont County stands on the front line in the national debate over the gas-drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Much is at stake for the U.S. oil and natural gas industries as they await the outcome of a regulatory battle between the federal Environmental Protection Agency and fracking proponents.
In December, the EPA released a draft study that tentatively linked groundwater contamination in Pavillion with fracking, a drilling technique that blasts apart underground rock formations with millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand to dislodge pockets of natural gas.

The study, which has proven controversial due to disputes between supporters and critics, was the first time a science-backed connection was made. Critics had already been vehement in alleging that the drilling industry tainted underground water in Pennsylvania and elsewhere through well-fracking. MORE …

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