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API expects green light for fracking

Nov. 4, 2011 at 6:24 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- With energy companies working closely with U.S. federal regulators, the American Petroleum Industry said it considers hydraulic fracturing a safe technology.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced plans for a multiyear study into potential environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The EPA said it expects to complete its study by 2014.

The API said it was reviewing the details of the EPA's plans but said it was confident the agency would find that fracking is a safe method to get natural gas out of shale formations.

"The industry has taken the lead in working with state regulators to constantly improve operations, industry practices and guidelines as well as improve communications with local communities," Stephanie Meadows, API's Upstream senior policy adviser, said in a statement.

Fracking incorporates abrasives and other chemicals into water used to break up shale deposits to release natural gas. Critics are concerned some chemicals could contaminate water supplies.

The U.S. Interior Department this week issued proposals that would require a disclosure of fracking chemicals while protecting corporate trade practices.

Energy companies involved in fracking, and some U.S. states with rich shale deposits, say the process doesn't threaten the environment if done correctly.

The United States has some of the richest deposits of shale gas, mostly in areas east of the Mississippi River.

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