The Environmental Protection Agency has issued new regulations on drilling wells using fracking techniques to crack open shale to release abundant supplies of natural gas. Once a well has been drilled and before production can begin some fracking fluids flow back up the well combined with natural gas. The new rules require drillers by 2015 to use "green completion" techniques that involve capturing this initial outflow of natural gas.
Just how much natural gas escapes such wells is scientifically controversial. In this case, the EPA followed the usual bureaucratic inclination of an agency to aggrandize its power, ah, I mean, protect the health and welfare of the American people from cheap natural gas. Sadly, not too surprising.
However, the amazing thing is that EPA's crack team of fracking regulators have identified a business opportunity has apparently heretofore been entirely missed by natural gas producers. From the EPA statement:
EPA’s analysis of the final rules shows that they are highly cost-effective, relying on widely available technologies and practices already deployed at approximately half of all fractured wells, and consistent with steps industry is already taking in many cases to capture additional natural gas for sale, offsetting the cost of compliance. Together these rules will result in $11 to $19 million in savings for industry each year.
Just another happy example of how smart bureaucrats can help us regulate our way to prosperity.