The hydraulic fracturing echoing over America is on path to shortly ensure that the greatest producer of gas and oil will be the United States. As the rise of the fracking method, arguments over regulations on hydraulic fracturing from across the United States have manifested. The states manage overseeing drilling on state owned land and private owned land, where the great amount of hydraulic fracturing takes place in the nation. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said “Current federal well-drilling regulations are more than 30 years old, and they simply have not kept pace with the technical complexities of today’s hydraulic fracturing operations,”
In light of the current mandated regulations, the Obama administration has declared new federal rules set for hydraulic fracturing to go into effect in June. These federal rules are in place to minimize safety and health risks of the energy production known as hydraulic fracturing.
The new rules only apply to federal lands, which provide a template for the states and have a total of 3 rules. The first rule is in transparency, drillers will have to disclose all the chemicals they use in fracking within 30 days of finishing fracking operations for the public on a website called FracFocus. Uniquely, in prior years the Halliburton Loophole established in 2005 ensured the oil companies of not having to disclose a single chemical used. The second rule that follows is well integrity tests to deduce the concrete barriers that line fracking wells are holding up and nothing can leak out to nearby groundwater. These tests are to be handled by government workers, so not all the work is handled by the industry to create some cross check examinations. The final rule states that companies will have to store waste water flow back out after Hydraulic fracturing in tanks. In the past the oil and gas industry was able to dispose of the flow back in pits and from that poor conscience decision ground water would get contaminated from seeping of the flow back.
Equally important the argument that the regulations put in place are indeed a positive outlook into the future stand in the eyes of some environmentalists and government officials alike. Ms. Jewell who I have mentioned said something on the lines of while standards for drilling on public lands have been created, statehouses and boardrooms across the nation need to create further rules. So not to limit the states to the federal regulations but to impose the regulations as a backbone and build on top of it shall create less wiggle room for the industry. Likewise the legislative representative for the League of Conservation Voters, Madelenie Foote, recounted “This is an important step forward in regulating fracking, a process which has concerned communities across the country,” For those who haven’t had a voice or haven’t been heard are concerned, something is being done on a small scale and will continue to cut risks for safety and health. Another statement by Foote “many aspects of these rules, such as stricter requirements for well construction and disposal of flow back water, reflect urgent need to minimize the risks posed by fracking.” Of course with the boom of fracking there are risks and our goal alongside boosting our economy should be to reduce as much of the risks as possible in fracking.
Finally the new rules are pivotal, although the industry manage FracFocus for disclosure of the chemicals used, and the shortfall of prohibiting fracking in our most precious lands are concerning. Following the new rules are expected to be series of regulations monitoring hydraulic fracturing safety to come shortly. Additionally the next set of rules aims to limit green house gas, and the release of methane gas from hydraulic fracturing wells.