Fracking rules

A committee has approved the first rules for fracking in the state.

Fracking has been going on in Tennessee for about 40 years, but has always involved relatively small operations that use only a small amount of water and nitrogen gas, he said. The permit required has been no different from that needed for a standard oil drilled oil well.

In other states, fracking operations sometimes pump millions of gallons of water deep underground. The rules anticipate the possibility of such operations in Tennessee by putting extra requirements on operations involving more than 200,000 gallons of water.

In those cases, testing of water wells within a half mile of the site would be required and operators would have to disclose chemicals they use, except for protection of "trade secrets." The undisclosed information would become open only in special circumstances, such as an accidental release of the fluids.