The Obama administration is still playing it cool with environmentalists. First it skirted the protracted battle over the Keystone XL pipeline, which could carry dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the American Gulf Coast. Now it’s facing opposition to proposed fracking regulations on tens of millions of acres of government land.
Bottom Line: US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is talking about a proposal to regulate oil and gas fracking on public lands, and while we haven’t seen a draft of this proposal yet, word is that it will emerge in the very near future. Analysis: US media reports coming out of Washington say that Salazar has told a House subcommittee that draft regulations on fracking on public lands are in the works and should be announced in the near-term future.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration unveiled long-awaited rules on Friday to bolster oversight of so-called "fracking" on public lands, seeking to allay concerns over the technology that has spurred a U.S. boom in shale gas drilling. The Interior Department proposal would require that companies obtain government approval to use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in drilling for natural gas on federal lands. The rules would not affect drilling on private land, where the bulk of shale exploration is taking place. ...
Last year the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the Department of the Interior, released a draft rule to govern hydraulic fracturing on public lands, but it was so heavily criticised by Republicans and drilling companies that Obama’s administration had to withdraw the proposal and return to the drawing board.Fracking is used for about 90% of all wells on public lands, so this set of regulations is due to affect a lot of companies.
Both sides are using movies to try to win the fracking debate, though actor Matt Damon says viewers should not assume the movie he stars in, Promised Land is “a rabid anti-fracking polemic.”
Not so long ago, fracking was a technical term little known beyond the energy industry. Now it’s coming to Hollywood, as the fierce battle between environmentalists and oil firms is played out in several forthcoming films.
A proposal to ban new hydraulic fracturing operations in the European Union was rejected by members of the European Parliament. Natural gas production among member states is set to decline as demand continues to grow, lawmakers said.
Last Wednesday, I posted a link to a Bloomberg article about "super-fracking" and commented that the ongoing advances in fracking technology might mean that the "shale revolution" is just beginning. Here are some excerpts from a longer and more detailed Bloomberg article about how "super-fracking" could revolutionize fracking by significantly lowering the costs of unlocking even more and deeper reserves of shale gas and tight oil than were accessible by traditional fracking:
CALGARY — As a junior energy explorer comes closer to finding out whether North America’s next big shale oil find lies beneath the western coast of Newfoundland, concerns are being raised about the environmental effects fracking could have in the remote region.
Shoal Point Energy Ltd. spent the winter holidays hammering out a farmout deal with Black Spruce Exploration, a subsidiary of Foothills Capital Corp., that will enable as many as 12 exploration wells to be drilled over the next few years in the Green Point shale.
There's a lot of mainstream media discussion of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. This article is typical.
Fracking is a new way to mine for natural gas. You pump water and chemicals into the ground. This breaks the rock formations, releasing the natural gas.
The problem is "and chemicals". Those chemicals, along with the released natural gas, are polluting drinking water. The most famous example is the guy who lights his water on fire.