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First Ever Federal Air Standard for Fracking Proposed

The U.S. EPA recently announced a series of four proposed air emissions regulations for the oil and natural gas industry. The proposal includes:

  • a new source performance standard for volatile organic compounds (VOC); 
  • a new source performance standard for sulfur dioxide (SO2);
  • an air toxics standard for oil and natural gas production; and
  • an air toxics standard for natural gas transmission and storage.

According to the EPA, the majority of new wells currently being drilled in the United States produce gas, and a majority of these new wells use the hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” process. Fracking involves pumping large quantities of a mixture of water, chemicals and a proppant (such as sand) into shale formations at extremely high pressure to fracture the shale and release natural gas into capture wells. The EPA estimates that 11,400 new wells are fractured annually and another 14,000 are refractured each year. The proposed rules would require air emissions reductions from flowback during well development and from processing, storage and other equipment. If you have questions about these issues, please contact the Environmental and Natural Resources Practice Group at Bingham Greenebaum Doll.

  • Partner

    Andy has provided environmental legal services to industrial, commercial and governmental clients for over 30 years. Andy's practice is concentrated in environmental law. He assists clients with permitting, remediation ...

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