By Ben Geman - 04/16/12 04:17 PM EDT
Hydraulic fracturing, often called fracking, is an oil-and-gas development method that involves high-pressure injections of water, chemicals and sand into rock formations to open up seams that free trapped natural gas and other substances.
The method, along with advances in horizontal drilling technology, is enabling a boom in gas production from shale formations but it brings pollution fears along with it.
Interior’s Bureau of Land Management is planning to propose rules forcing disclosure of chemical ingredients and requirements addressing well integrity and water management.
Mead’s letter notes that state rules already address these areas and argues that federal standards will create new delays and other “burdens.”
The Obama administration is seeking to show that it backs expanded gas development enabled through fracking while also taking steps to ensure environmental oversight.
The White House on Friday announced formation of an interagency panel to coordinate oversight of natural gas production from less common sources such as shale formations, which make up a fast-growing share of total U.S. production.