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Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation

11/15/2011



Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Rep. Gibbs to hold hearing on potential 'fracking' regulations


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On Wednesday, Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), who chairs the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, will hold a hearing to explore potential regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the hydraulic fracturing of shale beds.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” is a process used for extracting natural gas from reservoirs such as tight sands, coal beds and deep shale plays. Fracking involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into the well bores under pressure to crack the rock and release the gas deposits.

Drilling techniques that use fracking have helped to increase natural gas production from deep shale plays such as the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and Utica Shale in Ohio. The process developed from a “negligible amount just a few years ago to almost 15 percent of total U.S. natural gas production, and is expected to triple in the coming decades,” said a press release from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Gibbs’ committee is a subcommittee of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The EPA recently announced it plans to look into additional regulations of the wastewater that results from fracking. The subcommittee will receive testimony from federal, state and industry representatives “so that we can ensure that any future regulations EPA develops are reasonable and not a solution in search of problem,” said Gibbs in a prepared statement.

For more information about fracking, click here to read Progressive Railroading’s November article about Norfolk Southern Railway’s growth in business stemming from natural gas exploration and Marcellus Shale drilling.


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