Hydraulic fracturing and federalism : how regional needs should drive regulatory oversight, with Texas as case study
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Hydraulic fracturing of shale has combined traditional oil and gas industry techniques to create significant new reserves in the United States. Poor science, incomplete media coverage and politicization of the issues threaten broad understanding of issues of genuine concern while overstating others. The Environmental Protection Agency should focus on science-based regulation prior to enumerating new rules and should continue to cede primacy to the states where traditional regimes have proven successful in regulating oil and gas. The most critical issues associated with hydraulic fracturing tend to be regional and predicated on local hydrogeology. Surface water disposal and emissions standards need revision and strengthening. Scarce resources should be dedicated to better understanding regional water availability and to heightened awareness of the energy-water nexus.