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Natural Gas

EPA Said To Craft Guide On Seismic Effects Of Fracking Wastewater Wells

Correction Appended

EPA is said to be developing guidance for states on how to mitigate potential seismic risks associated with underground injection control (UIC) wells used to dispose of wastewater generated during hydraulic fracturing following an uptick in earthquake activity in Ohio believed to be caused by disposal operations.

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Seeking Strict Rules, Activists Shift Fracking Focus To Monitoring Mandates

Having pushed EPA and other regulators to craft rules requiring disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, environmentalists appear to be shifting their focus to improved monitoring of the sector's wastewater releases and air emissions -- which activists say will provide the data they need to make the case for strict new rules.

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Drillers Tout Colorado Water Monitoring Program As Model For States

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) is touting its voluntary monitoring program to publicly document groundwater quality prior to drilling as a potential model for states -- and one that could address calls from EPA and Department of Energy advisers who say such monitoring is crucial to protecting underground sources of drinking water (USDW).

COGA officials presented an overview of the oil and gas group's "Voluntary Baseline Groundwater Quality Sampling Program" during a Jan. 12 meeting with Region 8 Administrator James Martin and other regional staff.

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Jackson Downplays Concerns Over Broad EPA Oversight Of Fracking Wells

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says the agency's limited resources make it impossible for federal regulators to be able to broadly oversee hydraulic fracturing operations -- even if Congress were to restore EPA's legal authority to regulate the injection process once officials complete their pending study on whether the process impacts drinking water.

“Let me speak really plainly,” Jackson told a Jan. 31 teleconference hosted by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC). “There is no EPA setup that allows us to oversee each and every well that's drilled.”

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Industry Downplays Methanol Air Risks From Fracking

The Methanol Institute is pointing to new analysis of a previously released study to refute environmentalists' charges that the chemical's use in hydraulic fracturing fluid poses air quality risks.

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EPA Seeks Gas Price Data For ELG

EPA is gathering data on current and forecasted natural gas prices and production from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and others to inform its pending effluent limitation guidelines (ELG) for the coalbed methane (CBM) sector following industry concerns that dropping prices undermine the agency's current approach, an agency spokeswoman says.

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Activists Look To EPA Diesel Fracking Guide As Model For State, Local Rules

Environmentalists are looking to EPA's forthcoming underground injection control (UIC) guidance for permitting hydraulic fracturing operations that use diesel fuel as a potential model for states and municipalities looking to craft much broader rules for all fracking operations, including those that do not rely on diesel which EPA may not regulate.

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Facing Low Gas Prices, EPA Eyes New Data To Justify Coalbed Effluent Limit

EPA is weighing how to gather additional economic and production data from the coalbed methane (CBM) drilling sector after industry officials recently warned that low natural gas prices may make it difficult for the agency to show that its planned effluent limitation guideline (ELG) for the sector is "economically achievable," as the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires, industry sources say.

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Energy Sector Urges Obama To Increase Coordination Of Fracking Oversight

The oil and gas industry is calling on President Obama for a more coordinated approach to federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing, warning that having EPA and seven other agencies considering regulations for the sector is chilling new investment and production.

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Issa Targets EPA's Fracking Plans

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House oversight panel, is asking EPA to clarify its “internal” plans for regulating hydraulic fracturing, saying interagency comments on EPA's utility air toxics rule suggest the agency might regulate fracking so strictly it will not be a viable source of natural gas.

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