Hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique that has driven a boom in land-based production of shale gas, has sparked environmental concerns and public outcry from Pennsylvania to St. Tammany Parish. But fracking also is expanding offshore, in the Gulf of Mexico, with hardly anyone noticing.
A year after California imposed new regulations requiring oil and gas companies to notify state regulators and the public whenever they perform hydraulic fracturing, environmental groups and policy experts are belatedly learning about offshore fracking in the Gulf and expressing frustration with a lack of information from regulators.
“People don’t know this is happening,” said Jonathan Henderson, of the environmental advocacy group Gulf Restoration Network. “Nobody I talk to has any idea, much less the process that’s used to get at those reserves.”
“There’s very little public information on the practice, and to date, we just simply don’t know a great deal about where and when it’s taking place,” said Jayni Hein, policy director at New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity.