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Policy: Environment & Energy

Oil company endorses NV's proposed fracking rules

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News,Business,Energy and Environment,Fracking,Oil

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — A Houston-based oil company has endorsed the state's proposed rules governing hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.

The proposed regulations support proven technologies to safely develop Nevada's oil and gas, said Kevin Vorhaben of Noble Energy Inc., which is exploring for oil in three Elko County locations.

They also would ensure safety to human health and the environment, he said at a public workshop in Elko on Wednesday hosted the Nevada Division of Minerals.

"These innovative proposed rules support the use of proven horizontal holes and hydraulic fracturing technologies to safely develop Nevada's discovered and undiscovered oil and gas resources," Vorhaben said, calling the regulations "tough" and "thorough."

But some residents viewed the company's endorsement as reason to wonder if the minerals division's proposed regulations are too lax, the Elko Daily Free Press reported (http://bit.ly/1mlFsyF ).

"It really makes me uncomfortable to hear representatives of an oil company endorsing the regulations that you have and how great they are," said Richard Sturm of Elko County.

He noted BP's spill of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico occurred after a 2010 rig explosion despite regulations.

Shannon Salter, a Las Vegas poet, said the issue is "about doing possible permanent damage to the earth," and wealthy oil companies stand to gain from fracking.

Oil and gas developers employ hydraulic fracturing to boost production. The technique pumps water, fine sand and chemicals into wells to fracture open oil- and gas-bearing rock deposits.

The process has been controversial amid concern that fracking gone wrong could taint groundwater with hydrocarbons or fracking fluids containing toxic substances. The industry uses a variety of specially formulated fluids to facilitate fracking.

Among other provisions, the state's proposed rules call for testing underground aquifers before and during oil extraction. They also require companies to disclose chemicals used and to notify the public about fracking operations.

The Division of Minerals, which also held public workshops on its proposed regulations this week in Las Vegas and Carson City, is accepting online public comment on them through Friday.

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Online:

The proposed regulations can be found at http://www.minerals.state.nv.us

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Information from: Elko Daily Free Press, http://www.elkodaily.com

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