Michigan could eye new shale gas rules

LANSING, Mich., Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Michigan officials could consider new regulations on shale gas extraction after new deposits were uncovered in the state, an environmental official said.

Energy companies are eying shale deposits in the northern part of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. Some shale deposits in the state don't need as much of a chemical mixture to free the natural gas from the rocks. Emerging deposits, however, could require significantly more effort to exploit.


Environmental groups claim that chemicals used to release natural gas from certain rock formations are affecting the quality of drinking water and public health.

Hal Fitch, an official at Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality, told the Platts news service that state regulators might need to revisit rules regarding shale gas extraction.

"We're a little bit tenuous with where we're going," he said. "We're getting a lot of concern expressed by non-governmental agencies."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said energy companies that practice so-called hydraulic fracturing voluntarily handed over information to help the agency examine the controversial practice.

Wyoming in June became the first U.S. state to ask for chemical contents. Arkansas followed suit in early December.


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