We know the only gas you're thinking about today is the kind you need to fire up your grill tomorrow, but if you care about water quality in the state, you might want to pay attention to this.
Last year the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation overhauled its oil and gas drilling regulations but neglected to include any regulation of hydraulic fracturing, the controversial technique used to extract natural gas deposits from shale. TDEC finally started work on rules to govern fracking last fall and released a draft over the holidays. Now there's an updated draft of the regulations, and hearings on the revisions are set for July 10. The Tennessee Clean Water Network sent out a press release about the hearings today, which helpfully notes that you can submit public comment to TDEC by July 20 if you can't get on the record at the meeting. These rules could have a huge impact on natural gas production in the state, so it's a meeting well worth putting on your calendar.
Full TCWN press release follows:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEKnoxville, TNThe Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will hold two public hearings Tuesday, July 10, 2012 about proposed new rules regarding hydrofracking, a technique used to extract natural gas. The hearings are scheduled for 2:00 pm and 6:00 p.m. The hearings will be held at the Knoxville Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Field Office at 3711 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, TN 37921. The public is encouraged to attend.Hydrofracking has gained favor among oil and gas companies because it provides access to previously unreachable natural gas pockets in shale rock in an economical manner. Pennsylvania, New York, and other states have experienced pollution of groundwater and surface water resources that is believed to be related to hydrofracking. Hydrofracking is becoming more prevalent in Tennessee, especially in Fentress, Morgan, Overton and Scott counties.Several organizations that are concerned about negative impacts of hydrofracking on water and air quality worked together to write rules that would limit the damaging effects to ground and surface water from these practices."We urge Tennesseans who want to protect drinking water to support stronger regulations that protect water resources. It is important to send in comments to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation before July 20, and to speak in support of stronger regulations at the July 10 hearing," said Ms. Goss, Executive Director of Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning.For more information about fracking and the upcoming public hearings, visit http://www.tcwn.org/frack