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Fracking Regulations Appear Headed for Final Approval at State Capitol

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Additional regulations for Kentucky’s oil and gas industry appear headed for legislative approval in Frankfort. The bill would regulate the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to reach deep oil and gas reserves. Right now, there’s no fracking in Kentucky on the scale of what’s been seen in states like Pennsylvania and New York, but if the Rogersville Shale in Eastern Kentucky is developed, fracking could be possible.
A group of farmers, regulators, environmental activists and members of the oil and gas industry worked together for months to draft the bill. Andrew McNeil with Kentucky's Oil and Gas Association called it “consensus legislation.”

“They're regulations that we think meet the needs of protecting the environment, but it's not going to be something that will create an impediment to investment,” he McNeil.

Kentucky Oil and Gas Association Director Andrew McNeil says there is still industry interest in deep shale development in eastern Kentucky, and tapping into those reserves could potentially create a lot of jobs.

But Kentucky Resources Council Director Tom FitzGerald said he doesn’t expect passage of the bill to mean a major increase in fracking. “The precipitous decline in the cost of natural gas means that that production will be slowing, not increasing,” he said. “This will not pave the way for more hydraulic fracking.”

FitzGerald says the bill requires water quality testing both before and after fracking, and extends the requirement for a reclamation plan to all oil and gas operations.
The Senate version of the bill passed a House committee yesterday, and is expected to pass the full House.