Thousands weigh in on proposed fracking rule

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Progressive groups, including Forecast the Facts, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Center for Effective Government, have been especially active in encouraging their supporters to ask the Interior Department to strengthen the rule.

The current proposal, unveiled in May, requires developers to disclose the chemicals they use in fracking, which uses a mixture of chemicals, sand and water to release oil and gas from rock formations.  

It also calls for companies to make sure that those liquids used do not escape into the groundwater.

The process has led to a boom in American energy production but also raised concerns about damage to the environment and contamination of drinking water.

Environmental advocates have expressed concern that the rule does not go far enough to regulate the chemicals used in the process or provide sufficient oversight. The department’s draft regulation allows for the industry to use a chemical disclosure database that critics worry is too weak.

Republicans and business groups have also opposed the new rule, arguing that regulation for fracking is best left to the states.

In July, the House Natural Resources Committee voted to block the Obama administration from expanding its fracking regulations. 

The department will review the comments as it seeks to finalize the rule.

Comments close on Friday.