The United States Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, last week defended the Obama Administration's proposed new regulations for hydraulic fracturing. While the regulations have not yet been clearly defined, Salazar did identify three major points of focus.
"It's one, disclosure, two, well bore integrity and three, what happens with respect to flowback water," Salazar said.
The regulations are expected to make their debut in early 2012 and will place new restrictions and transparency requirements on the fracing process. The Bureau of Land Management has estimated that nine out of 10 wells drilled will be affected by the new regulations.
Opponents say new regulations will decrease exploration and drilling in the U.S., costing Americans jobs and increasing America's dependence on foreign oil.
Natural House Resources Committee Chairman, Doc Hastings, said, "The President's plan is to simply say 'no' to new energy production and 'no' to new American jobs created by new offshore drilling. It's a plan that is sending American jobs overseas, forfeiting new revenue, and denying access to American energy that would lessen our dependence on hostile Middle Eastern oil."
Conversely Salazar believes the new regulations could boost consumer confidence in natural gas.
"Our program we're putting on the table is not meant to impede shale gas, it's meant to support shale gas," Salazar said.
Salazar said listening to local communities and their concerns regarding air and water contamination is important to the administration and is attempting to address those concerns.
While we applaud Salazar's hopeful prediction, one of the biggest concerns on the table is how the government plans to educate themselves on fracing, so that they in turn can dispel the popular myths that consume most public opinion. Fracing is a process that has been used in the United States since the early 20th century; if the Obama administration truly wants to understand it, then it should reach out to energy and service companies to learn all it can. Mr. Salazar, we look forward to your call.