US EPA seeks information on fracking chemicals

09 May 2014 16:42  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public input on how it should obtain and disclose information on chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the agency announced on Friday.

That production technique, commonly called fracking, along with horizontal drilling is the energy development combination that triggered a dramatic increase in domestic US production of natural gas and crude oil from deep shale formations.

The abundant new natgas resources in turn have enabled a renaissance in US petrochemicals production and downstream chemicals and resins output along with a strong revival in the broader manufacturing sector.

But the fracking process has come under criticism from environmental groups who contend that the high-pressure injection of water and some chemicals into deep shale formations to free-up hydrocarbon resources pose a threat to the nation’s drinking water supplies.

As many as 10 different federal agencies, including EPA, have launched investigations into the fracking process, which is now regulated chiefly by states.

In its information-gathering announcement, the EPA said that it is seeking public comment on “approaches for obtaining this information [on fracking chemicals], including non-regulatory approaches”.

“EPA is also soliciting input on incentives and recognition programmes that could support the development and use of safer chemicals in hydraulic fracturing,” the agency said.

The EPA request for public comment takes the form of what the agency calls an “advance notice of proposed rulemaking”, or ANPR.

An ANPR, the agency noted, is used to stimulate public comment on an issue and to provide the EPA with information that it could consider in developing non-regulatory approaches to a matter, “or a proposed rule”.

The comment period will be open for 90 days and will be followed by EPA evaluation of the information gathered and the agency’s consideration of its next steps.

By: Joe Kamalick
+1 713 525 2653

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