EPA Has Arlington Hearing On Fracking Regulations

ARLINGTON (AP) – Environmentalists and advocates for drilling companies were expected to face off Thursday when the Environmental Protection Agency holds a public hearing in Arlington on its proposed rules aimed at limiting pollution at oil and gas wells.

Similar hearings were held Tuesday in Pittsburgh and Wednesday in Denver over the agency’s proposed standards to curb hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” by requiring operators to capture and sell natural gas that now escapes into the air.

The rules to be discussed at the Arlington hearing were first announced July 28 after a lawsuit was filed by two Western-based environmental organizations.

The EPA estimated its fully implemented proposal could reduce emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds by about 540,000 tons, or 25 percent. It would reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas methane by about 26 percent and reduce hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, by almost 30 percent.

Though drilling companies would have to spend millions of dollars complying with the rules, the government estimated the industry could save almost $30 million overall in 2015 from selling the captured natural gas.

Trade groups questioned those figures and asked for more time to review them. The Western Energy Alliance and others also urged the agency to ask a judge to push back the Feb. 28 deadline for adopting final rules.

The EPA contends companies could recover its costs of meeting the rules within a year, but Jason Rauen of Enerplus Resources USA Corp. said his company estimates it could take up to five years.

The hydraulic fracturing technique — used with horizontal drilling — allows rich stores of gas to be extracted from once out-of-reach, dense shale formations more than a mile underground. Intense drilling activity is under way in the Barnett Shale of North Texas, the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania, and other producing shale regions around the country.

As tens of thousands of Americans become energy magnates in their own backyards, tens of thousands more worry about environmental dangers. The industry insists the process is safe, for people and the environment.

One side touts the jobs and prosperity drilling brings, allowing businesses to flourish and down-on-their-luck farmers to hang on to their land. Gas leases have made millionaires of some property owners. Regions long struggling economically are suddenly flush.

Critics argue it’s not worth the environmental risk of toxic spills, scattered drill site explosions and tainted drinking water.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. Here is a letter I sent to Chesapeake as I am about to be drilled upon near my home by the Cowboy Stadium……
    1) Tony thanks for checking on if closed loop system means that drilling mud and cuttings are not initially exposed to the air and if that will be the case in my neighborhood.

    2) Along the same question line, does green completions means that Chesapeake or Halliburton/Schlumberger will separate liquid and gas hydrocarbons during the “flowback” process where the captured gases can be treated and sold?

    3) Will your drilling rig be electric? Will any of the compressors and generators used during fracturing be electric?

    The planned drill time of November is quickly approaching and I’m trying to find other temporary living arrangements if these above procedures is not practiced by Chesapeake or the companies they contract with. I also feel the need to educate others in my neighborhood about getting out of harms way on their own initiative, but do not have the means to contact or communicate in Spanish and need some assistance if Chesapeake or the city could assist with that.

    I firmly believe that these are hard questions that need to be addressed if we are to allow urban drilling near people and the sooner Chesapeake faces that these are legitimate questions/solutions, they are the public health’s number one enemy. The ball is in your court, will “this” be a game changer for those that embrace drilling but are concerned for public health…these things are within your power to buy public acceptance instead of buying TV commercial half truths.

  2. Gil McIlwain says:

    The EPA is Obamas Pit bulls right now, and so are the enviro nuts. If you people are willing to live like your great granparents did 100 years ago, then lets stop all drilling right now. No air conditioning, nof fuel, just horses or foot power, no computers, no medicines, no plastic, go to the creek to get water and tote it up the hill, good luck on that one. Chesapeake, maybe you should just forget these people and move on to other areas who want to develope and contribute to our energy problems, these people want to live like cave men and try to grow their own food, oh forgot that one, electric trucks will have a hard time delivering to Kroger since the food will be spoiled by the time it gets here after having to charge up evey 50 miles. What these people also don’t realise is that electric power comes from somewhere, mostly our fossil fuels. A small portion is generated by wind and solar. EPA is also attacking nuclear and coal just as hard, so you people that are complaining need to choose sides, we do not care how you live or how long you live. Better think how easy you have it in this modern world made possible by fossil fuels, coal and nuclear energy.

  3. darrell says:

    in 5 years most of the natural gas will be gone and all of the pollution will have happened and these new regulations will be worthless. enforce the one year or have them cap the well until requirements are met

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