Obama administration tightens fracking rules

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 10:45am

The Obama administration tightened rules on hydraulic fracturing Friday, requiring the discloser of chemicals used in the process when done on federal and American Indian lands.

"This proposed rule will strengthen the requirements for hydraulic fracturing performed on federal and Indian lands in order to build public confidence and protect the health of American communities, while ensuring continued access to the important resources that make up our energy economy," the Interior Department said in a statement.

The move is part of a broader administration effort to increasing rules around the controversial practice. Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency tightened air pollution requirements for new oil and gas wells.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is known, has unleashed a boom in energy production in the United States, reducing the country's oil imports, boosting natural gas production and providing thousands of jobs.

But the process has also raised fears of ground water contamination. Fracking involves injecting water, and and some chemicals deep into the earth to crack shale rock, which allows oil and gas to more easily flow. Critics fear the chemicals are seeping into the groundwater.



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