Middle Ground Continues to Be Shaky in Fracking Debate

From E&E:
For more than two years, the Environmental Defense Fund has been seeking to line up state regulators and energy companies behind a model regulatory framework for shale gas and oil development that protects underground drinking water supplies and public health.
The project is still a draft. EDF senior policy adviser Scott Anderson says the organization hopes to release the model rules for well construction and fracking by the end of the year.
But EDF's search for regulatory consensus has pulled it into scarred political terrain, where some environmental groups oppose hydraulic fracturing outright and many industry and state officials challenge any moves to standardize regulation and oversight of a game-changing energy frontier.
EDF has doggedly refined and recirculated its model plan among state regulators, and Anderson says he's still in no rush to publish if more time yields more support. Based on positive responses from regulators in a few states -- Arkansas, Montana, Texas and Ohio -- Anderson said he is fairly optimistic that state backing will emerge and grow.
"At this juncture, regulators in all of the states are interested in taking a look at ideas for improving their well construction regulations. That doesn't mean they'll all fall in love with our proposals," Anderson added.
On industry's side, only EDF's original partner, Houston-based shale developer Southwestern Energy, has signed its name to the project so far.
The organization's effort to expand the lonely middle ground in the debate got an endorsement in August from Bloomberg Philanthropies, backed by a $6 million, three-year research grant.
Read the rest here. 

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