DOE shale gas hearings, day 1: Companies want state, not fed regulation; Environmentalists suspicious of panel bias

Michael Giberson

FuelFix has the run down on the first day of the U.S. Department of Energy’s hearings on shale gas fracking regulation. The title above offers captures much of the tone: Company execs urged regulation of fracking at the state level, rather than federal level; Environmental groups saw significant pro-energy industry bias among the advisory panel members and said they had low expectations for the panel’s ultimate assessment.

In day 2 of the hearing, the panel will hear from state regulators.

BACKGROUND: From the DOE website, “On May 5, 2011, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu charged the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Natural Gas Subcommittee to make recommendations to improve the safety and environmental performance of natural gas hydraulic fracturing from shale formations. Secretary Chu extended the Subcommittee membership beyond SEAB members to include the natural gas industry, states, and environmental experts. The Subcommittee is supported by the Departments of Energy and Interior, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.” DOE indicates that video of the two day hearings will be made available after the event.