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Posted Fri Apr 20 2012: from USAToday:
EPA issues air pollution rules for fracking wells
Federal regulators issued first-ever air pollution rules for "fracking" wells on Wednesday, requiring that drillers burn or capture the gas and its smog-producing compounds released when the wells are first tapped. Going into effect in 60 days, the rules cover the period when a well is first drilled when natural gas is still venting but before it begins actual production. In a compromise with the industry, regulators said the drillers can flare, or burn off, the gas for now, a process that can last for weeks. But starting in 2015 they would lose that option. Instead, they'll be required to collect it -- so-called green completion of new fracking wells. "We wanted to encourage 'green completions' as soon as the technology can become widely available," McCarthy said, explaining the 2015 "phase-in" of the rules. The announcement came in response to a lawsuit involving the Clean Air Act. EPA estimates the rules will cut 95 percent of the smog-related chemicals released by fracking wells, ones linked to asthma, respiratory ailments and cancer.
[Read more stories about: fracking, airborne pollutants, methane release]

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