Over the coming weeks, the Dept of Interior will propose standards to regulate natural gas fracking on public lands, and Secretary Ken Salazar has already provided insight into what those rules will cover.
He says natural gas drillers will not only have to disclose the chemicals they use, but they will also have to inspect their wells after fracking and certify that drinking water supplies are safe. They will also have to prove the well isn't leaking, reports Bloomberg.
"To me, those rules are common sense," he said in a speech to the City Club of Cleveland."You have some people say that this will kill the natural gas industry -- that's very far from the truth."
Republicans and fossil fuel trade associations like the powerful American Petroleum Institute (which is behind the push for the tar sands pipeline) oppose any regulations, saying they would raise industry costs and slow exploitation of resources.
The American Petroleum Institute, which has launched a massive "Vote for Energy" campaign to push tar sands and natural gas exploitation, said: if the President doesn't approve the tar sands pipeline there will be "huge political consequences."
Fracking is now used for over 90% of all natural gas drilling on public lands, Salazar said.
Unfortunately, the measures apply only to public lands - much of the drilling occurs on private land across the country. Doctors have come out against fracking, it's been banned in New Jersey, and other states are considering banning it. It's been shown to cause earthquakes and to lead to increase methane emissions. The EPA confirmed that it pollutes drinking water.