The Obama administration announced on Friday that there will be federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, reported The New York Times. These regulations are the very first of their kind and were designed to keep pace with today’s well-drilling practices.
“Current federal well-drilling regulations are more than 30 years old, and they simply have not kept pace with the technical complexities of today’s hydraulic fracturing operations,” said interior secretary Sally Jewell.
These rules call for government inspections, and officials must validate the wells’ safety and structural integrity. Companies also must disclose all chemicals used during drilling operations within 30 days after an operation has been completed. There are also new guidelines for chemical storage that energy companies must follow.
Although the rules apply to approximately 100,000 wells, they don’t apply to any wells operating on private lands. Naturally, energy companies remain resistant to any regulations placed on fracking.
“Despite the renaissance on state and private lands, energy production on federal lands has fallen, and this rule is just one more barrier to growth,” said American Petroleum Institute director of industry operations Erik Milito.
The Interior Department began drafting these regulations in Obama’s first term, around the same time as when fracking boomed across the country. Although fracking has generated massive amounts of fossil fuels, the environmental and health dangers are a cost that outweigh the benefit.
These new regulations are not exactly the ones we need, but they are a step in the right direction. Fracking companies should have no room to engage in dangerous behaviors that threaten people and the environment.