President Barack Obama on Friday issued an executive order to better coordinate federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
The order establishes an “interagency working group” consisting of members from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department and the Energy Department. Other federal agencies will also be involved.
The goal is to "coordinate and align" all research on fracking to reach natural gas-oil, the agencies said in a federal announcement..
At least 10 federal departments or agencies are currently mulling new regulations of the gas industry, or have commissioned studies of its environmental impact, the Washington Post reported.
The sheer number of potential rulemakers has caused many industry insiders to fear confusing or overlapping guidelines, which, some analysts say, could greatly hamper domestic oil and gas production.
The new working group, the president said, is designed to “ensure coordination among the appropriate federal entities.”
You can read the memo at www.epa.gov/hydraulicfracture/oil_and_gas_research_mou.pdf.
The federal plan was greeted with enthusiasm by the industry.
"We remain eager to provide real-time, on-the-ground insight in an effort to ensure that common-sense regulations are in place, which is essential to leveraging the countless benefits of America's natural gas resources," said Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a pro-drilling group in Pennsylvania.
Said John Engler of the Business Roundtable: The federal order is "a solid, first step toward coordinating and, we hope, improving federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing."
Proposed federal rules were appearing "burdensome with overlapping authorities and unnecessary and duplicative rules," he said in a statement.
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.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
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.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.