The Institute for Energy Research reports that the federal government is set to begin regulation of shale gas extraction on federal lands, a power they had previously deferred to the states within whose borders those federal lands were located. State and local regulations seem to be working to create a safe industry, and the IER sees no reason for the federal government to add yet another layer of bureaucracy over the process:
Hydraulic fracturing is already subject to multiple state and local regulations and through these and with cooperation from the industry, refinements and improvements in rules and practices have been occurring for decades. Since 1949, over one million cases of hydraulic fracturing here in the United States and many more worldwide have not caused any serious harm. So, why must the federal government need to increase its presence in this area, costing taxpayers more in the administrative process of overseeing the industry and adding more red tape and processing time for industry to do the job that they have been trained and experienced to do, providing us with much needed energy. Fossil fuels will dominate our energy future for longer than forecasters can predict energy supply and demand, so denying that fact and restricting their use through even more regulations will only cause Americans financial and comfort hardships.
At a minimum, I would hope that the USG waits for the release of formal industry standards (which process is already underway) before completing its entry into the regulatory environment.