"While we can never be 100 percent sure that drilling activities are connected to a seismic event, caution dictates that we take these new steps to protect human health, safety and the environment," said the Ohio agency's director, James Zehringer, in a statement. The new policy "will provide more information" about the causes behind tremors in the region, he added.For the moment, the jury is still out on how tight the link is between quakes and soaring shale production, and few think it will derail a U.S. drive toward energy independence that's built largely around fracking. However, the surge in seismic disturbances has left both sides of the fracking debate more polarized than ever.For their part, fracking advocates said the decision will do virtually nothing to alter the boom that has sent proven U.S. oil reserves to their highest since 1976."What Ohio is done is certainly not an indication that there's any danger," said Mike Krancer, a law partner in Blank Rome's energy practice, and Pennsylvania's former top environmental official."What they have indicated is that it's a data point and we need to be mindful of," he said. "There's a misread that there's a governmental agency arguing this poses a safety or danger issue. It does not."
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