A crew works on a gas drilling rig at a well site for shale-based natural gas in Zelienople, Pa. (AP Photo/, File)
Photo: Keith Srakocic
Photo: Keith Srakocic

Georgia Senate approves fracking regulations, sends bill to governor

The Georgia Senate on Friday approved the first change to the state’s regulation of fracking since 1975.

The measure, House Bill 205, aims to strengthen state regulations on natural gas exploration. The measure how heads to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature.

“These are common-sense regulations for an industry that is new since the regulations went into effect,” said state Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome.

Hufstetler said the legislation would affect an eight-county region in northwest Georgia that companies have identified as a possible source of natural gas. A fracking operation involves lowering a drill and pipe up to 2,000 feet underground.

If Deal signs the bill, the state’s Environmental Protection Division would be able to regulate fracking and collect a tax of 1 cent per 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas drawn from Georgia and 3 cents per barrel of oil.

A company interested in fracking would have to reveal any underground water sources a fracking drill would pass through and what chemical fluids would be used in the operation.

The bill is a compromise between the House and Senate after the measure hit a snag late in the past session when senators inserted a new fee structure for landfills. As part of the compromise, the lawmakers agreed to remove the landfill provision from this bill and pursue it separately.

The House approved the compromise in January.

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