Americans want tougher fracking rules

A majority of Americans favor tighter regulations on drilling technique

A clear majority of Americans favor tighter regulation of fracking, the controversial natural-gas drilling technique, a poll finds.

Conducted last month by Bloomberg News, the survey revealed that 65 percent of participants said more regulation should be imposed on hydraulic fracturing, 18 percent were in favor of less regulation and 17 percent said they weren’t sure. Fracking has been the subject of heated environmental debate, as evidence suggests that the technique has caused earthquakes in Ohio, and chemicals used in the process have tainted groundwater in Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

“That actually doesn’t surprise me,” Mark Boling, executive vice president for the Houston-based Southern Energy Co., said of the poll. “We have been so focused as an industry on figuring out how to crack the code and get these huge volumes of gas trapped in shale formations. We haven’t focused on the things we have to do differently above ground.”