New Regulations to Control Fracking on the Way from Obama

For all of President Obama’s talk about the promise of shale gas and his support of it, once again he and his administration’s actions do not match the talk. On Wednesday, Obama’s Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, told a congressional hearing that his department is going to issue new federal regulations to control hydraulic fracturing.

This is a clear violation of state’s rights to regulate oil and gas development within their own borders. But unconstitutionally ceasing power is nothing new for the Obama administration. The end result of these new regulations will be to slow down new shale drilling domestically.

The Obama administration will require energy companies to certify that they are not endangering local water supplies when using hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas and oil, the Interior Department says.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a congressional hearing Wednesday that his agency is working on additional regulations that will lower the risk of water supplies being tainted during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The drilling technique involves injecting millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand into subterranean rock formations to free energy resources.

The industry certificates will strengthen the oversight of the Bureau of Land Management, which is sending inspectors to drilling sites to ensure proper well design and waste-water management, David Hayes, Salazar’s deputy, told a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations panel in Washington, D.C.

"We are prioritizing inspections to deal with potential high-risk issues," Hayes said. "That includes ensuring that the well construction is done with the appropriate integrity." The proposed rule "will require an additional certification by the operators to ensure that they are using the appropriate cementing," he said.*

*Tulsa World/Bloomberg (Mar 1, 2012) – Fracking rules to include safety certification, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says