Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tougher regulations to affect Barnett Shale natural gas drillers

"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality moved this week to impose tougher regulations on natural gas drillers but opted to try them out only in the Barnett Shale area in North Texas before applying them statewide.

The state agency voted Wednesday to beef up its air emission limits on toxic chemicals associated with natural gas drilling and required producers to test their drilling sites more stringently.

It's the first major change to the agency's drilling regulations in over a decade and "light-years ahead" of the current rules, said Richard Hyde, the deputy director of permitting and registration.

Industry interests pushed for the trial period to see whether changes will be needed before the rest of the state falls under the rules.

"Those are tremendous changes and huge steps forward for both TCEQ and the industry," Celina Romero of the Texas Pipeline Association told commissioners." More>>>>

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