EPA To Slash Air Pollution From Natural Gas Wells

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The Obama administration, for the first time, is issuing standards to control air pollution from gas wells that are drilled using the method known as fracking.

Top EPA officials say the new regulations will make sure pollution is controlled, without slowing natural gas production.

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama strongly backed natural gas drilling as a clean energy source. But he's been criticized by the industry and by Republicans for policies that they say discourage energy development.

The standards issued today make some concessions to the industry. Drillers will have more than two years to use technology to reduce emissions. And wells that are drilled in low-pressure areas will be exempt.

The reaction from environmental groups is mixed. Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians says the rules offer ways to "keep the dirty process of drilling in check" — though he says it includes a concession that will promote "wasteful drilling."