Category Archives: Government, Academic and Industry Studies and Reports

Silica Risks Claimed to be Associated with Frac Sand

The latest reported risk that is being claimed to be associated with fracking is related to workers’ exposure to frack sand.    Specifically, Eric Esswein, an industrial hygienist with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (“NIOSH”), claims that his testing of 11 well sites in five states, including Colorado, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Texas and North Dakota, found elevated levels of silica in most wells and in about one-third of his samples, silica levels exceeded standards by as much as 10 times.  “There’s lots more sand…

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Marcellus Shale Coalition Releases First in Series of Guidance Documents Addressing Responsible Natural Gas Development

Last week the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a trade group of oil and gas companies, released the first in a series of guidance documents intended to standardize how the oil and natural gas industry approaches future drilling operations. This is the first in a series of releases expected in the coming months that will provide recommended practices for drilling companies.  This first release in the series addresses how drilling companies should go about the site planning, development, and restoration process. The guidance documents are intended to…

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President Obama Issues Executive Order Related to Fracking

In a significant development, President Obama released an executive order that coordinates the on-going activities of numerous federal agencies related to fracking.  The neutrally written order cites to the need to develop natural gas while making such development “safe, responsible, and efficient.”   As has been reported here, various federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Interior, and  General Accountability Office, have been quietly employing comprehensive fracking related studies while at the same time contemplating potential federal regulations related to fracking…

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GAO Report Recommends Data Collection On Gas Pipelines and Possible Future Regulations

The United States Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), a non-partison arm of the legislature, released a study that recommends collecting data on some of the nation’s currently unregulated gas pipelines and to assess further regulations regarding those pipelines.  Gas pipelines, including fracking pipelines, are regulated by states and the United States Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  According to GAO, many of the 2.5 million miles of on-shore pipelines have not been heavily regulated due to the fact that they are…

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North Carolina Environmental Study Finds That Fracking Can Be Done Safely

We can now add North Carolina to the ever-growing list of states that have performed extensive studies to the potential environmental impact for fracking within the state and concluded that it can be done safely.  The a draft report from the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Recourses recommended a series of 20 regulations and recommendations that, if implemented, would significantly reduce any risk of environmental risks associated with fracking.  The proposed recommendations include, among other things, chemical disclosures from fracking fluid, improving well construction…

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