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U.S. could work with industry on fracking

Sept. 7, 2012 at 6:21 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said it could work with the energy industry to develop safety regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing of natural gas deposits.

Heather Zichal, deputy adviser on energy and climate change at the Bureau of Land Management, said the agency was focused on developing regulations to address the chemical makeup of the fluids used to coax natural gas from shale deposits.

"There is a way to do that with industry support," she was quoted by the Platts news service as saying. "That is what we are focused on."

A boom in shale natural gas exploration in the United States sparked concerns about the safety of techniques used for extraction. Chemicals used in the process dubbed fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, are potential sources of groundwater contamination.

Analysis of deep monitoring wells in the Wyoming aquifer by the Environmental Protection Agency last year indicated levels of glycols and other synthetic chemicals associated with fracking fluid "well above" standards that are considered safe for drinking water.

In actual drinking water, however, the EPA said those chemicals were "generally below established health and safety standards."

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