by Lee Lane
February 12, 2013
Hydraulic fracturing (HF) is one of the technologies that have enabled large increases both in the current production of natural gas and in estimates of recoverable reserves. However, as new technology has triggered a boom in onshore U.S. gas exploration and production (E&P), environmental concerns have multiplied. Much of the concern centers on use of HF. As public concern has risen, so have calls for federal regulatory control. The Interior Department has adopted tighter controls on the use of HF on public lands. Also, two former Obama White House aides, Carol Browner and Jody Freeman, have argued for more EPA regulation of all use of HF in oil and gas drilling. To achieve this control, they propose to repeal the partial oil and gas exemption under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Bills to this effect, dubbed the FRAC Act, were proposed in the last two Congresses, but they were not adopted.