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U.S. Interior Dept. Readies Fracking Rules

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A proposal for new hydraulic fracturing (fracking) rules could be released in about one month, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior

Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, has been considering the rules that would mandate new requirements for frackers on what chemicals they use when drilling, said The Hill. Fracking, known as hydraulic fracturing, is the process by which chemicals, sand, and water are injected at high power into rock formations to fracture that rock and release natural gas.

More than just chemical information disclosure, Salazar is hoping the rule will be more encompassing, saying “well integrity and the construction of the well is very important” to protect groundwater, wrote The Hill. “The rule is still in formation,” Salazar added at a recent briefing hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. “We may be a month or so out before we actually put the specifics of it out,” he noted, said The Hill.

Although fracking does offer the promise of utilizing domestic energy, increased employment, and enhancements to a long shaky economy, critics aptly point out that the process leaves in its wake potentials for water and environmental contamination, devastated infrastructures, and even the threat of earthquakes.

And, while Salazar pointed out that natural gas development is an important energy possibility, chemical information transparency is critical, calling public worry about
fracking the “Achilles’ Heel” of natural gas that requires attention, wrote the Hill.

“There should be transparency and full disclosure, otherwise people are going to get very understandably concerned about what is being injected into the underground…. I think hydraulic fracking is very much a necessary part of the future of natural gas,” he said, reported The Hill. “I think hydraulic fracking can be done in a safe way, in an environmentally responsible way, and in a way that doesn’t create all the concerns that it is creating across the country right now,” Salazar pointed out, said The Hill.

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