EPA Announces New Fracking Regulations

April 19, 2012

Today the EPA announced a number of regulations, required by the Clean Air act, that aim at reducing air pollution from natural gas production and natural gas extracted from shale formations.

Due to substantial industry feedback, the EPA will give companies until January 1, 2015 to comply with new hydraulic fracturing pollution rules. Before the January 2015 deadline, companies will be required to flare their emissions in order to lower the amount of leaked methane and other hazardous gases. The new EPA rule does not require new federal permits.

The following are brief summaries of the major requirements:

  • The new pollution rule requires that all wells employ a technology called “green completions” that reduce harmful emissions of VOCs, methane and benzene by 95%.  The EPA believes that the revenue from selling the gas that normally goes to waste will offset the costs of complying to the new pollution rules.
  • Companies must also comply with new storage tank standards. New storage tanks with VOC emissions of 6 tons a year or more must reduce VOC emission by 95% through combustion devises.
  •  Natural gas processing plants will be required to follow a number of regulations that reduce VOC emissions and strengthening leak detection.  

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