Fretting Over Fracking

Tennessee’s oil and gas industry successfully opposed passage of a law this spring to regulate fracking, the controversial practice of cracking the rock deep underground to more quickly release natural gas, reports Anne Paine.
And as the state is poised to update its mining regulations, the industry has firm seating on the board that will make the final decision on any rules, a fact that environmentalists say is part of a too-cozy relationship between regulators and those regulated.
Fracking is growing nationwide in areas with gas-rich shale, and it’s been blamed in some areas for tainting well water. Questions also have arisen about possible links to earthquake tremors.
But so far, fracking is not on the table as the state Department of Environment and Conservation proposes changes in mining rules.
“One of our concerns is that TDEC reached out to the oil and gas community and basically asked them to help write the regulations and never asked us,” said Renee Hoyos, with the Tennessee Clean Water Network. “They’re silent on fracking.”

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