U.S. energy industry mulls fracking rules

June 7, 2013 at 6:37 AM

WASHINGTON, June 7 (UPI) -- There are "many questions" remaining over what proposed U.S. regulations on hydraulic fracturing could do to energy production, an energy trade group said.

The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management in May offered a draft for comment on a proposal to regulate hydraulic fracturing, known also as fracking, on federal and tribal lands. The BLM said Thursday it extended an initial public comment period by another 60 days.

The U.S. energy industry said the BLM proposal overlapped existing state regulations and could inhibit domestic oil and natural gas production.

Eric Milito, director of upstream operations for the American Petroleum Institute, said there were still concerns about the BLM's initial proposal.

"Many questions still remain as this new rule has the potential to significantly slow domestic energy production, as well as damage national, state and local economies," he said in a statement Thursday. "An additional layer of regulation must be carefully scrutinized and the last thing we need are rules that create confusion in the regulatory process."

Milito said state laws were effective in regulating fracking.

The practice helped with overall U.S. oil and natural gas production gains though critics are concerned about the potential health and environmental threats from the chemicals used in the process.

The Interior Department said revised BLM rules were needed because existing regulations are outdated.

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