The Obama administration today released a new set of rules for oil and gas drilling on public land. As NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, the rules are meant to keep companies from polluting water when they use the engineering technique known as fracking.
ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Hydraulic fracturing is what made the current drilling booms possible. Companies force hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals deep underground to open up cracks in the rock and make the oil or natural gas flow faster.
Saying that the rules would "make sure that fracturing operations conducted on public and Indian lands follow common-sense industry best practices," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar this morning issued proposed regulations that would:
-- Require "public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations on federal lands."
-- Ensure that "wells used in fracturing operations [on public lands] meet appropriate construction standards."
-- Require operators to "put in place appropriate plans for managing flowback waters from fracturing operations."
Denver was the location for a U.S. Congressional field hearing on hydraulic fracturing on Wednesday. Panelists and members of Congress debated whether the fracking process is safe, and if federal regulations would be overreaching.
Colorado Fifth District Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is holding a hearing this morning in Denver on proposed federal regulations governing the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing.
Additional legislation to deal with hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas regulations is unlikely in the final weeks of the state’s annual legislative session. A task force convened by Governor Hickenlooper to examine the issue is not recommending new laws.
KUNC’s State Capitol reporter Bente Birkeland has more.