EPA Launches Hearings on Drilling, Fracking

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding a series of hearings this week, the latest today, on drilling and fracking regulations.

The agency is proposing standards that it estimates could reduce emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds by about 540,000 tons, or 25 percent. It also proposes to reduce greenhouse gas methane emissions by about 26 percent and reduce air pollutants, including benzene, by almost 30 percent. Trade groups questioned the figures and asked for more time to review them.

But of particular interest to many environmentalists will be stricter guidelines for hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, the controversial method of shooting high pressured fluids and solids into wells to enhance gas flows.

A hearing is under way today in Arlington, Texas. Similar hearings were held Tuesday in Pittsburgh and Wednesday in Denver.

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