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© Krantz News Service, May 13, 2014

The federal government is poised to preempt state management in a key area of energy policy.

After modest attempts by lawmakers in some states to set state standards, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking more information about chemical substances and mixtures used in fracking, the practice of using high-pressure liquids to extract oil or gas.

The EPA has given preliminary notice of proposed rulemaking on Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Mixtures. The rulemaking (docket number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2011-1019) is to be published in the Federal Register.

Earthjustice, a nonprofit public interest law organization, sought the action under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The group's petition was signed by numerous environmental organizations.

The Bureau of Land Management has already begun rulemaking to deal with fracking on federal lands.

The U.S. House has passed legislation to block federal fracking rules, but no such measure has been signed into law.

State legislation has been introduced on the issue this year without much success. A New York bill would have prevented the use of "toxic fracking solutions."

A West Virginia bill would have required "the posting of material data safety sheets and documentation of fracking fluid components at oil and gas well sites where fracking fluids are used."

Neither bill made it out of committee.

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