Companies using hydraulic fracturing technique will have until 2015 to comply with new rules designed to reduce air pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency released today long-awaited rules on hydraulic fracturing, in one of its first efforts to regulate the widely used technique of extracting oil and natural gas. There was no mention about groundwater protection.
The rules, first proposed in July 2011, would require drillers to capture the emissions resulting from drilling the wells. The oil and gas industry representatives last week told the EPA that controls on wells that have low amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from drilling-related emissions won’t be cost-effective. American Petroleum Institute (API) opposed the rule and suggested that it should only apply only to wells whose gas stream is at least 10-percent volatile organic compounds.
“By ensuring the capture of gases that were previously released to pollute our air and threaten our climate, these updated standards will not only protect our health, but also lead to more product for fuel suppliers to bring to market,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement.