On April 17, 2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued regulations which include the first Federal air standards for natural gas wells that are hydraulically fractured. The new regulations also have new requirements for several other sources of pollution in the Oil and Gas industry that currently are not regulated at the Federal level. The final rule can be found at the following link: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/
To individuals in New York State who hope someday to use their properties for oil and gas exploration utilizing hydraulic fracking, this new EPA rule can be viewed as good news. New York has been gaining a reputation throughout the country as being too heavy handed in formulating their regulations with respect to hydraulic fracturing. However, as is often the case in new, risky, and potentially dangerous activity, individual states tend to regulate the activities with a myriad of often overlapping and conflicting regulations. In the past when this has happened, the Federal government steps in and begins passing regulations that apply to all industry participants. This is the first example of an industry wide federal regulation being enacted with respect to hydraulic fracturing. It’s reasonable to believe that new and different rules will be issued by the EPA. The net effect of these new rules will be to make the New York State Regulatory scheme look less burdensome to the industry and therefore make New York State more attractive to future oil and gas exploration. This blog will try to keep you up to date on developments as they occur.