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API wants quicker frack permits

May 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 10 (UPI) -- Instead of new federal rules regulating hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas deposits, Washington should speed up the permit process, a trade group said.

The Interior Department last week unveiled updated regulations for the hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas wells on federal and tribal lands. Operators under the terms of the new proposal are called on to outline the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing fluid.

Energy companies employ hydraulic fracturing, known also as fracking, to unlock oil and natural gas deposits in shale formations underground.

Jack Gerard, president and chief executive officer at the American Petroleum Institute, said the "shale revolution" is providing jobs and energy security to the United States. Instead of regulating the process, he said, Washington should make it easier for energy companies to move forward.

"It takes more than half a year on average to get a federal drilling permit for development on federal lands," he said in a statement.

He said delays in the permit process left an estimated 17,000 wells idled in Wyoming.

"Address these delays and fix this process and let the states continue to handle the regulation of hydraulic fraction which they've shown they know how to do very well," he said.

The Environmental Protection Agency in December found drilling in shale deposits in Wyoming resulted in groundwater contamination.

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