New EPA proposal may make fracking difficult

Fracking may soon become more difficult.

A new proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may make fracking more difficult in Texas.

In an effort to battle climate change, the EPA wants to control methane emissions in oil production, which, according to the Texas Tribune, often leaks from well pads, compressor stations, processing plants and various other equipment.

The EPA's proposal is part of President Barak Obama's larger plan to cut methane emissions by 40 to 45 percent of 2012 levels by 2025.

Chris Craddock, a member of the state oil oversight agency, the Texas Railroad Commission, denounced the plan in a statement to the Tribune.

"The EPA continues to resort to unnecessary, burdensome regulation on business instead of allowing the free market to find efficiencies in operations," he said.

As part of the proposal, the industry would be required to limit the release of methane and "volatile organic compounds" at fracking sites. Methane that is typically burnt off would need to be captured at areas the EPA deems to be over the limit.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, became incredibly popular in the last few years, allowing previously unreachable oil to be retrieved. The use of this technic in Texas and elsewhere in the country has resulted in unprecedented levels of oil production. This proposal, however, threatens the viability of the technique.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the EPA estimates that compliance with the proposed regulations would cost the oil and gas industry as much as $420 million a year, which one American Petroleum Institute (API) representative feels would hurt the industry.

"This is obviously an additional burden on the industry. … This is not the time to jeopardize the shale revolution going on in America," the API's Howard Feldman told the Morning News. 

According to EPA guidelines, the rule will be available for public comment for 60 days, with the goal, in this situation, to have a final version in place next summer.