Panel Seeks Stiffer Rules for Drilling of Gas Wells –

An Energy Department subcommittee, six of seven of whose members have drilling industry ties, has has issued a draft report called for better tracking and more careful disposal of waste, among other measures.

The seven-member Natural Gas Subcommittee called for better tracking and more careful disposal of the waste that comes up from wells, stricter standards on air pollution and greenhouse gases associated with drilling, and the creation of a federal database so the public can better monitor drilling operations.

…“The public deserves assurance that the full economic, environmental and energy security benefits of shale gas development will be realized without sacrificing public health, environmental protection and safety,” said the report, which was prepared by a subcommittee led by John Deutch, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and a group of energy experts including Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, and Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund.

After The New York Times published a series of articles and internal Environmental Protection Agency documents revealing legal and environmental concerns among the agency’s enforcement lawyers about natural gas drilling, President Obama asked Steven Chu, the energy secretary, in May to produce an advisory report within 90 days on ways to improve the oversight of natural gas drilling.

Some EPA officials have pointed out that the committee seems to pre-empt and undermine the E.P.A.’s own more rigorous national study on fracking and drinking water.


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