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Texas Fracking Regulations To Kick In

New fracking regulations will be effective February 1 in Texas, forcing drilling operators in that state to report the chemicals used in the process, also known as hydraulic fracturing. According to a New York Times report, landowners and environmentalists in Texas are awaiting news on what “acids, hydroxides,” and other chemicals end up in fracking wells, and experts are anxious to hear about the mandatory disclosure concerning how much water is used to frack a well. This information, in particular, said The Times, is data experts say is invaluable when determining how fracking activities impact water supplies in Texas, known to be prone to drought. Chemical and water disclosure information will be available at fracfocus.org. (more…)

New York’s Sullivan County May Not See Fracking

New York’s Sullivan County may never see any natural gas drilling via the controversial technique known as fracking, according to a spokesman for the natural gas industry. At a time when industry is looking to frack into some sensitive environmental areas, the announcement is a bit surprising, until the actual reason is revealed.

Not so much about a concern over environment, infrastructure, or human health, Sullivan County will be spared hydraulic fracturing over economics. (more…)

NJ Assembly Commettee Approves Fracking Wastewater Bill

A New Jersey Assembly committee just approved a fracking wastewater bill that involves a ban on the treatment, disposal, or storage of waste produced by hydraulic fracturing.

“By passing this bill out of committee today, you can send a strong message that the health and well being of New Jersey residents is more important than the interests of the petroleum industry,” said Jim Walsh, eastern regional director of Food and Water Watch, according to NJ.com. The bill passed the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee with a 4-to-1 vote and with one abstention. (more…)

Interior Dept. Mulling Fracking Rules

The U.S. Interior Department is weighing in on the growing fracking debate. Considering regulations for natural gas and oil production on federally owned shale lands, the Department is also looking into mandating disclosure of chemicals used and creating water and well standards, said Bloomberg Businessweek

The rules will likely be presented in “a couple of months” and might become final the following year, according to David Hayes, the Interior Department’s deputy secretary, wrote Businessweek. The Department is seeking “full disclosure of the chemicals used in the hydraulic-fracturing process, with necessary provisions related to” trade secrets, said Hayes at a meeting of the Department of Energy’s shale-gas advisory panel, added Businessweek. For instance, to protect against leaks, a key change would be, said Hayes, “Extending existing well-bore integrity standards to the hydraulic-fracturing phase of development” as well as, “extending existing water-management requirements” to discharges when fracturing is completed. (more…)

Tough New York Drilling Rules Could Rein in Frackers

Although the natural gas drilling ban has been lifted in New York, tough rules are reining in frackers—those companies seeking to hydraulically fracture shale formations to release the gas within.

Fracking is a controversial process in which a cocktail of water, chemicals, and sand are injected at high pressures into shale rock to shatter the formations and allow access to the gas. (more…)

Albany, New York City Council Approves Fracking Ban

In Albany, New York, the city council approved a fracking ban, apparently unconcerned with industry retaliation. The narrowly approved ban prohibits gas drilling within city limits, a move that Times Union said is meant to ensure that hydraulic fracturing—fracking—does not occur there. The ban unites the Albany Common Council to Buffalo, Cooperstown, and about 50 more cities, towns, and counties in New York State that have ensured fracking limits are in place even before New York environmental regulators are able to issue fracking permits to gas companies, Times Union noted. The fact that Albany is critical to New York government and is also where the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is located, is seen by some as adding more significance to an already highly controversial practice. (more…)

New York Asked To Study Fracking Health Impacts

In response to the ongoing controversy in New York State regarding potential hydraulic fracturing—fracking—activities planned in the Marcellus Shale, the state has been asked to study fracking health impacts before proceeding.

In a letter to NY State governor Andrew Cuomo, 250 medical professionals and environmentalists are calling for a health risk study of the impacts of natural gas drilling before the practice is allowed there, said ProPublica. The letter, sent this week, notes that NY’s plans to regulate the environmentally devastating practice does not consider the growing evidence that fracking poses significant human health harms. The group asked the Governor to assess the rates of disease in areas planned for fracking so that a baseline can be made, risks can be isolated, and steps can be put in place to minimize risks, said ProPublica. (more…)

U.S. Interior Dept. Readies Fracking Rules

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…)

New York Bans Drilling In Allegany State Park

Natural gas and oil drillers— including those who want to conduct hydraulic fracturing—are effectively banned from energy extraction and exploration drilling at the 65,000-acre Allegany State Park in New York State; this, following Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s signing of two pieces of legislation last week.

According to a report from The Buffalo News, the new laws should crush U.S. Energy Development Corp. of Getzville’s plans to sink five test wells at the park, a plan announced two years ago. The driller claims it had subsurface mineral rights underneath a 2,800-acre area of the park known as the Red House section. (more…)

Lawsuits Challenge Fracking Bans In NY Communities

Two lawsuits seek to overturn fracking bans in Upstate New York. Lawsuits were filed against zoning laws in the towns of Middlefield and Dryden NY and more are expected as more areas seek to ban the natural gas extraction process and more areas are targeted for natural gas extraction.

Hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as fracking, is the controversial process by which a cocktail of water and chemicals—some toxic and carcinogenic—are shot into shale wells to release gas for harvesting. Promises of domestic energy use and increased employment can overshadow environmental catastrophes; long-term, life-threatening illnesses; and community disruption and devastation. (more…)

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