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Natural Gas

EPA Seeks More ELG Comments

EPA is extending by 60 days the public comment period on its final plan for revising or crafting technology-based wastewater standards -- including controversial first-time rules for produced water from shale gas and coalbed methane extraction -- responding to requests from a slew of industry groups and elected officials.

The agency published its final 2010 effluent limitation guidelines (ELG) program plan on Oct. 26, ahead of a Nov. 25 deadline, but received multiple comment that the 30-day comment period is insufficient given the depth of information provided in the final plan.

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Bipartisan Group Of Senators Seeks Narrow EPA Diesel Fracking Definition

A bipartisan group of senators is pushing EPA to use a narrow definition of diesel fuel in its pending guidance on regulating hydraulic fracturing activities that use diesel fuel under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), adding to criticism from industry and some states that EPA's planned definition exceeds its SDWA authority.

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OMB Reviewing EPA Fracking Policies

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has begun a formal review of two key EPA policies for addressing hydraulic fracturing: a notice on guidance for determining when fracking operations that use diesel must seek permits and a notice that will set the agency on a path to crafting first-time rules requiring chemical manufacturers to disclose health and safety data on the substances used in fracking fluid.

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Colorado Crafts Model Deal For Protecting CBI In Fracking Disclosure Rules

Colorado officials have struck a landmark deal with major industry and environmental groups that allows broader disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process than other states while also enhancing trade secret protections for industry and broader opportunities for activists to challenge those protections than other states have.

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Draft EPA Wyoming Fracking Contamination Study Faces Broad Criticisms

EPA's draft analysis concluding that a company's hydraulic fracturing operations are the likely cause of groundwater contamination in Wyoming is facing broad criticisms from other federal agencies, the company and states, including major questions over whether EPA can demonstrate a pathway for how the water pollution occurred.

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Industry Signals Data Law Attack On EPA Air Rules Over Formaldehyde Risks

Chemical manufacturers are signaling they may bring a data quality challenge to EPA's pending air toxics rules for the oil and natural gas drilling sector because the agency relied on safe exposure limits in its 1991 cancer assessment of formaldehyde, which the industry says is outdated and overly stringent.

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EPA Seeks More Fracking Tests In Wake Of Wyoming Contamination Case

Echoing calls from an Energy Department (DOE) advisory panel, EPA is calling for expanded testing of environmental releases associated with hydraulic fracturing following release of draft findings pointing to fracking fluids as the “likely” source of contamination within a Pavillion, WY, drinking water aquifer.

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EPA Sets Gas Plants As GHG Rule Benchmark, Raising Doubts About New Coal

EPA's proposed first-time utility greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for new plants undergoing White House review sets a heat-rate limit -- a measure of fuel efficiency -- to reflect the best-performing combined-cycle natural gas plant, a level so strict it signals an end to new coal plants as only gas facilities will be able to meet the limit, sources say.

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Issa Eyes EPA's Methane Measures

House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is launching an investigation into how EPA calculates methane emissions at natural gas drilling sites -- a controversial issue that has raised doubts about the carbon footprint of gas-fired electricity -- after the agency significantly increased its emissions estimates using methods strongly faulted by industry groups.

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OMB Seeks Funding Research Changes To Better Target Fracking's Risks

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is calling for realignment of research funding to better address potential environmental and safety risks of hydraulic fracturing, warning that existing Energy Department (DOE) research programs are too inflexible and EPA and other agencies' research roles need better articulation.

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