| HARRISBURG, Pa.
HARRISBURG, Pa. Oct 7 New regulations governing
the extraction of natural gas through fracking will go into
effect on Saturday in Pennsylvania, the first overhaul since the
industry took off in the state more than 10 years ago.
The new rules allow the state's department of environmental
protection to require additional measures if fracking is taking
place near public resources, and requires drillers to restore
water supply that is degraded or damaged through fracking,
according to the statement.
Environmental groups hailed the new rules. An oil and gas
industry group blasted the regulations, with a spokesman saying
he expected legal challenges.
The rules have been in development since 2011, and faced
opposition from the oil and gas industry and their allies in the
state legislature, where the regulations were rejected earlier
Since then, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf has reached a
compromise that gave traditional oil and gas wells different
rules than "unconventional" wells developed through fracking.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting water,
sand and chemicals at high pressure into rock to extract natural
gas or other products. Opposition has mounted as the run-off
from fracking has been blamed for polluting water supplies in
parts of the United States.
In March, residents near Dimock in the northeast corner of
the state won $4.2 million in damages from Cabot Oil & Gas
for the contamination of well water. The verdict is
Thomas Au of the Sierra Club in Harrisburg said one of the
biggest changes in the new regulations involves industry
reporting of spills and contamination. "It's much more
thorough," he said.
Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association president
Daniel Weaver blasted the new regulations in a statement, saying
they grew out of a "flawed, pre-determined and antagonistic
Industries cannot challenge state regulations in court until
they go into effect. Au said he expects there will be litigation
over some of the new rules.
(Reporting By David DeKok in Harrisburg; Editing by David