AK: In reply to critics, agency proposes more transparency for well-fracking requests

In an apparent bow to critics and to increase transparency in state government decisions, the state's oil-well regulator on Wednesday proposed notifying the public and accepting comments on applications for hydraulic fracturing operations.

The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission currently does not issue public notices or hold hearings when an operator applies for a permit to drill a well and frack it to increase oil and gas production. Fracking is controversial in the Lower 48, where critics have charged it has led to contamination of well water, but officials in Alaska say it has been done here safely for years.

Information about fracking requests is currently made available to the general public after the agency approves the operation, although land owners within a half-mile radius of a planned well-bore must be notified by companies and can request an application.