The Obama administration on Friday released highly anticipated federal regulations on fracking, the controversial drilling technique at the heart of America's energy boom.
The rules are intended as a safeguard against water contamination near drill sites where chemicals are injected into shale rock to unleash oil and natural gas. They arrive as part of a broader unilateral push by the administration to shore up Obama's environmental legacy while the White House touts the benefits of fracking and fossil fuels.
The standards, crafted by the Interior Department, are sure to face pushback from all sides. Environmental groups say the regulations fall short of what is needed to stave off environmental damage from fracking. The oil and gas industry, meanwhile, views the rule as the latest example of administration action to hinder America's energy boom.
Republican senators wasted no time fighting back. A slate of senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe introduced a bill Thursday evening that would block the rule, stating instead that states have the sole authority to regulate fracking on federal lands.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell responded to the GOP attack during a call with reporters on Friday, saying that she expects "that these rules will in fact stick." "We believe that these standards are essential and that it is our charge to oversee them," Jewell said, adding, "We're confident right now that we're doing the right thing for the American people."