The Environmental Protection Agency wants to impose the first ever pollution regulations onto oil and natural gas companies that use hydraulic fracturing to drill. Commonly known as "fracking," the drilling technique involves injecting water and chemicals into wells to push out natural gas. On the its website, the EPA calls the new set of rules "highly cost effective" and describes the benefits:
The proposed rules include a requirement that would capture 95 percent [smog-causing compounds] from wells that are hydraulically fractured. This dramatic reduction would largely be accomplished through capturing natural gas that currently escapes into the air, and making that gas available for sale. The rules also would reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and air toxics, which are known or suspected of causing cancer and other serious health effects.
Capturing that extra natural gas will make the oil and natural gas companies an extra $30 million, the EPA predicts. Meanwhile, the new regulations will also help ensure that fracking practices are more environmentally friendly.
“EPA has been so branded by industry as an evil, job killing agency and here is EPA proposing something that appears to be a win-win,” Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell told The Hill.