The needs to regulate shale gas exploration and exploitation, as well as hydraulic fracturing are subject to discussion all around the globe these days. Some countries have prohibited the practice, like in France in May 2011, others see shale gas as a real answer to energy dependency, like in Poland or the US (see in the case of the US, the wider initiative "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future").
The US is about to re-discuss the issue, following the publication of a draft report on 11 August 2011 by the Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) - Safety of Shale Gas Development (website here). The draft report is part of a mission attributed in May 2011 to the subcommitte of the SEAB and which purpose is to come forward with"recommendations to improve the safety and environmental performance of natural gas hydraulic fracturing from shale formations - harnessing a vital domestic energy resource while ensuring the safety of our drinking water and the health of the environment" (press release of 05.05.2011 here). Based on the results of the report, the Subcommittee shall "develop, within 6 months, consensus recommended advice to the agencies on practices for shale extraction ..." (see Blueprint document).
The content of the draft report will be summarised shortly on this blog. It is inter alia based on the results from a series of meeting and hearings held in June and July (available here). The initial report of the Subcommittee is expected to be published on 18 August 2011, and the final report on 18 November 2011. The minority group of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works has already commented the report pointing out the "increased regulatory" needs suggested by "Washington" in the report (press release here).
References: Press release of the US Department of Energy summarising the draft report, 11.08.2011.