Forgive the Obvious, But: Not All Hydraulic Fracturing is Created Equal

by Ben Somberg

In this morning's "Underused Drilling Practices Could Avoid Pollution," ProPublica has more important reporting on hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting chemicals at high pressure under deep rock to extract natural gas. Reports Abrahm Lustgarten:

Energy companies have figured out how to drill wells with fewer toxic chemicals, enclose wastewater so it can't contaminate streams and groundwater, and sharply curb emissions from everything from truck traffic to leaky gas well valves.

...

Yet these environmental safeguards are used only intermittently in the 32 states where natural gas is drilled. The energy industry is exempted from many federal environmental laws, so regulation of this growing industry is left almost entirely to the states, which often recommend, but seldom mandate the use of these techniques.

If natural gas is to be a growing 'bridge' energy source in coming years, will we mandate that the industry do what's possible to protect the residents affected by hydraulic fracturing?

Previously in this space: Yee Huang explained how hydraulic fracturing escapes Safe Drinking Water Act regultion and Rena Steinzor lamented calls for state regulation of fracking (as opposed to federal regulation).



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