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Ohio Utica Shale

Jewell defends proposed federal fracking rules

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell drew on her experience as a former oil-industry engineer to defend proposed federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on publicly owned land.

Testifying to the House Natural Resources committee today, Jewell faced criticisms from Republican lawmakers, who said the department’s proposed rule on fracturing, or fracking, will lead to unnecessary production delays.

Fracking, in which water, sand and chemicals are shot underground to break apart rocks and free trapped gas, has soared as new technologies have opened up more and deeper resources of oil and gas. Interior’s rules would set minimum standards for well construction, disclosure of chemicals and water management when fracking is used on federal lands.

Lawmakers told Jewell that state regulators best know the local geology and the federal government should leave the regulation to them.

“The states vary in their understanding of hydraulic fracturing,” Jewell said. Some states, such as Wyoming, have strong rules, while “in many cases, the state rules don’t exist or are out of date.”

Further, no matter where a well is drilled, “having well-bore integrity is essential,” she said, using the technical term for cementing and casing wells to prevent leaks.

Jewell also drew on her engineering experience at Mobil Oil Co., now part of Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), to answer Representative Alan Lowenthal, a California Democrat, who complained that the Interior proposal relies on the industry’s FracFocus website for disclosure of fracking chemicals.

FracFocus “is imperfect, but it’s being updated,” she said. If it’s not providing adequate disclosure, “we will look for other ways to do it.”

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.