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Natural Gas

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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Activists Seek EPA Role In Fracking Case

Environmentalists are urging EPA to intervene in a state appeals board suit on behalf of Pennsylvania citizens suing Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation over natural gas drilling operations that allegedly contaminated groundwater, asking Administrator Lisa Jackson to weigh in on the Keystone State's recent finding that the company has fulfilled its obligations for providing water supplies to affected households.

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EPA Questions Legality Of Pennsylvania Oil, Gas 'Aggregation' Guidance

EPA is questioning the legality of Pennsylvania's controversial draft guidance that aims to set a first-time distance boundary for when Clean Air Act permit writers must "aggregate," or combine, emissions from dispersed oil and gas drilling operations, saying it fails to follow EPA's aggregation policies and violates the Clean Air Act.

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Oil Industry Warns Scope Of Drilling Air Rules Exceeds EPA's Authority

Oil and gas industry groups are warning that EPA's proposed drilling air rules are too broad and are hinting that  they may be unlawful because they appear to overstep Clean Air Act authority by targeting low-emitting equipment, while urging major revisions to the plan -- including scrapping the proposal and starting over with a new rule.

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EPA Cites Dwindling Reliability Fears To Rebut Utility MACT Extension Push

EPA air chief Gina McCarthy is downplaying calls to include special mechanisms to protect electric grid reliability in the agency's final utility air toxics rule beyond existing authority to grant case-by-case compliance extensions, citing a new Department of Energy (DOE) report that finds the rule will not cause major adverse reliability impacts.

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Industry Split Over EPA Plan To Develop Shale Gas Wastewater Standards

Petroleum industry groups appear sharply divided over EPA's plan to craft technology-based discharge standards for shale gas operations, with one major industry organization saying the plan could increase options for handling shale wastewater discharges while several other groups argue EPA lacks justification for issuing a national rule.

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Utility MACT Debate Shifts From Opposition To Solving Reliability Concerns

Many critics of EPA's imminent maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rule to cut power plants' air toxics appear to be shifting from outright opposition to the rule toward finding a way to implement it without harming electric grid reliability and supplies -- most likely by extending the rule's compliance deadlines.

Debate has shifted from “not whether, but how,” one industry source says. “We'd like to see some change from the fixed, three-year deadline” and that mechanism needs to be clearly articulated in the final rule, the source says.

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EPA Support Could Boost West Virginia Fracking Rules As Potential Model

EPA is offering tentative support to West Virginia's emergency rules aimed at ensuring natural gas development does not contaminate water supplies, a move that could elevate the rules as a model for other states pursuing hydraulic fracturing rules given EPA's prohibition on regulating fracking with underground injection control permits.

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GOP Seeks To End Fracking Study But Advisers Push To Weigh Kids' Risks

EPA children's health advisers are urging the agency to expand its pending two-year study of potential drinking water impacts from the natural gas extraction process hydraulic fracturing -- known as fracking -- to better take into account risks to children even as Republican lawmakers step up their calls for EPA to scrap the study altogether.

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EPA Utility Rules Prompt New Reliability Concern Over Plant Retrofits

Electricity reliability regulators say that the task of retrofitting hundreds of power plants to comply with EPA's pending air toxics and other rules for the sector “far surpasses” the challenge presented by plants retiring due to the rules -- highlighting a new area of concern as the agency moves to complete the air toxics measure.

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