EPA Steps Into Fray Over Fracking

Natural gas is burned off next to water reservoirs used for fracking at an oil well site August 23, 2011 near Tioga, North Dakota. Hydraulic fracturing, often called fracking or hydrofracking, is the process of initiating and subsequently propagating a fracture in a rock layer, employing the pressure of a fluid as the source of energy The fracturing, known as a frack job is done from a wellbore drilled into reservoir rock formations, in order to increase the extraction rates and ultimate recovery of oil and natural gas and coal seam gas. A new oil boom in western North Dakota has produced thousands of jobs as the Bakken formation is tapped for the liquid commodity. 
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Clare Foran
Feb. 12, 2014, 1:28 a.m.

The En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency on Tues­day re­leased guidelines for the use of dies­el fuel in frack­ing op­er­a­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the EPA, the guid­ance will in­form how the agency writes per­mits aimed at pro­tect­ing un­der­ground stores of drink­ing wa­ter un­der the Safe Drink­ing Wa­ter Act. The law re­quires that any drill­er us­ing dies­el fuel to frack a well must ob­tain a per­mit from the agency.

The guid­ance is likely to face push­back from the nat­ur­al-gas in­dustry. En­vir­on­ment­al groups, however, wel­comed the news.

“The EPA has made a small step to­ward curb­ing one of the many threats from frack­ing,” En­vir­on­ment Amer­ica’s Clean Wa­ter Pro­gram dir­ect­or Court­ney Ab­rams told The Hill.

The In­teri­or De­part­ment’s Bur­eau of Land Man­age­ment, mean­while, is sep­ar­ately work­ing to fi­nal­ize reg­u­la­tions for frack­ing on pub­lic lands.


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