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U.S. offers more hints at fracking rules

Feb. 16, 2012 at 8:03 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- New U.S. proposals for hydraulic fracturing on federal land will likely include input from state-based regulatory mechanisms, an official said.

U.S. President Barack Obama said there's enough natural gas in the country to meet domestic demand for 100 years but companies working to exploit those reserves must do so responsibly.

Much of the natural gas available in the United States is in shale deposits. Environmental groups say so-called fracking fluids, a mix of water and chemicals used to coax gas out of shale formations, are dangerous.

U.S. Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes said proposed rules on hydraulic fracturing could complement FracFocus, a voluntary disclosure forum for the natural gas industry.

"We will explicitly be asking for comment on how we interact with FracFocus and other state-based disclosure issues because we have no interest in creating any conflict with state regulation," he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.

The Interior Department had said its proposed rules would apply only to federal lands that are open for mineral leasing. The proposal would require companies using fracking on federal lands to disclose the makeup of fracking fluids while protecting proprietary information.

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