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Bill Would Give State Option To Write New Regulations For Fracking

A drilling rig tests for the possibility of extracting shale gas by the hydraulic fracturing technique, more commonly known as fracking.

A committee in the Kansas House is considering legislation that would allow the state to write new rules regulating hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking. The process is used in oil and gas drilling.

Fracking breaks up underground rock to release more gas and oil. Critics say it may pose environmental hazards, especially to ground water.

Joe Spease with the Kansas Sierra Club says he doesn't oppose the process, but it needs to be done carefully.

“It’s something we need to pursue. There are benefits to be had from it, but it has to be regulated to protect our farmers and ranchers and our air and water quality,” Spease said.

The Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association, or KIOGA, does not oppose the bill. But KIOGA President Edward Cross says regulators need to be careful they don't overregulate the industry, because it provides jobs and economic development in Kansas. He says there's never been a confirmed case of groundwater pollution from fracking.

“I think it shows that hydraulic fracturing is a safe technology that’s been used by industry for over 60 years. Like I said, there’s no confirmed case in the United States, so I think it is well regulated,” Cross said.

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