Questions about possible water contamination, earthquakes and job creations are commonplace during natural gas discussions. The Environmental Protection Agency is working to complete a research study on the impact of hydraulic fracturing. The Yale Undergraduate Journal of Politics posed a unique question on the matter this week. The Politic pondered the idea that fracking is far more of a local or regional issue than a federal one.
Here are some facts about ongoing fracking legal issues and pending legislation:
* During a congressional hearing today Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Obama administration will require all energy companies to "certify" no endangerment of local water supplies is taking placed, Bloomberg reports. The new procedures will add to the power of the Bureau of Land Management.
* The Energy Policy Act of 2005 excluded fracking from regulation, according to The Politic. If the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act passes, the federal government will close the natural gas-related loophole. The bill was introduced by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. All states with significant levels of shale formations have an agency to oversee federal EPA regulations.
* Bloomberg Businessweek references an Ohio study released this week touting high job creation and revenue figures from natural gas drilling. The report claims the gas industry will generate nearly $4.9 billion by 2014 in economic investments and create more than 65,000 jobs.
* Aurora, Colo., stopped short of enacting an outright fracking ban but is drafting ordinances requiring far stricter oil and gas development regulation. Increased environmental concerns by citizens prompted town leaders to exercise their home rule option to raise standards, the Aurora Sentinel reports.
* Local governments have the ability to create local zoning laws in Pennsylvania. The state legislature is in the process of developing a standardized set of rules for all municipalities to follow. Pennsylvania fracking is regulated by the Bureau of Oil and Gas Management. Energy companies must submit a list of all chemicals used for approval and a plan detailing contamination contingencies and disposal of flowback and waste, The Politic reports.
* The nonprofit group State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations recommended North Carolina needs to draft regulations before making a decision on whether or not to permit fracking in the state, according to the Associated Press. Last year state officials passed a resolution to study hydraulic fracturing. North Carolina currently does not have any active gas or oil wells. Well which were in use during the 1990s were all plugged.
* The New Jersey legislature approved a statewide fracking moratorium, but the measure was vetoed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie. The bill was largely symbolic in nature because there are no known shale deposits beneath the soil in the Garden State, according to The Politic.