Tags: Obama | shale | Gas | Development

Obama to Create Working Group on Gas Drilling

Friday, 13 April 2012 12:02 PM

The Obama administration said Friday it is creating a multi-agency working group to coordinate federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing and other natural gas drilling techniques.

The working group, headed by White House energy adviser Heather Zichal, includes representatives of about a dozen agencies that oversee various aspects of drilling. Natural gas production has boomed in recent years as drillers use new techniques to gain access to wells that were hard to reach in the past.

Hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, involves blasting mixtures of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to stimulate the release of oil or natural gas. Another technique is horizontal drilling.

Critics, including the industry and congressional Republicans, have accused President Barack Obama of having a double standard — saying he supports gas drilling on the one hand, but cracking down on it with the other.

The Interior Department is expected to issue new rules in the next few weeks on natural gas drilling on public lands.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is poised to regulate air pollution from oil and gas wells and has pursued tighter rules on wastewater from drilling operations.

Zichal and other officials were scheduled to meet Friday with industry groups, including the American Petroleum Institute and the American Gas Association.

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Friday, 13 April 2012 12:02 PM
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