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New EPA Rules Could Prevent 'Fracking' Backlash

New EPA Rules Could Prevent 'Fracking' Backlash
Illustration by Bloomberg Businessweek

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday released new rules to limit methane emissions from natural gas production, a rare set of regulations that may serve the industry well, even if it cuts into producers’ profit margins.

The new rules seek foremost to cut down on cancer-causing chemicals released during hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” But the new regulations will have another benefit: They’ll reduce by 25 percent the amount of methane gas that escapes during fracking operations. This is critical, because methane is at the center of a growing debate whether natural gas really is a “cleaner” source of energy than coal.