WASHINGTON, April 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it was delaying air pollution standards for hydraulic fracturing while it weighed thousands of public comments.
The EPA had until Tuesday to finalize air pollution standards for oil storage tanks, compressor and natural gas wells developed by hydraulic fracturing, known also as fracking. It opted to delay the rules for two weeks.
"EPA and parties have agreed to a two-week extension on a consent decree to issue final air emission rules for the oil and natural gas industry," the agency said in a statement. "The agency requested the additional time to fully address the issues raised in the more than 156,000 public comments we received on the proposed rules."
The EPA said the new rules would decrease by more than 90 percent the emissions of volatile organic compounds from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells. Volatile organic compounds are tied to cancer and smog formation.
Robin Cooley, a lawyer from Earthjustice, told the Platts news service the proposed regulations stemmed from a 2009 settlement with the EPA.
"The current standards out of date," she said. "Some of these regulations were 27 years old."
The EPA under the terms of the Clean Water Act is required to update its rules every eight years.