Gov’t Panel to Propose Fracking Rules

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has named a panel of energy experts that is charged with proposing rules addressing potential environmental and health risks posed by hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”).  The NYT reports:

The administration hopes to avoid the safety and regulatory breakdowns that led to the Deepwater Horizon blowout a year ago as it oversees onshore drilling using hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has asked the panel’s seven experts, to be led by John Deutch, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and deputy defense secretary, to recommend within 90 days immediate steps to make fracking cleaner and safer.

The group will have an additional three months to come up with comprehensive safety and environmental policies for state and federal regulators who oversee gas drilling.

Mr. Chu said that he was acting at the direction of President Obama, who outlined a new energy strategy last month that calls for stepped-up domestic oil and gas production but also new rules to make the business safer.

[Ed: Is it me, or is the comparison of fracking to the Deepwater Horizon spill a bit much?]

For more on the legal and environmental issues concerning fracking, here are links to recent programs by the Federalist Society and Environmental Law Institute.