In this week's news, the rig count went up by 10 this week for its third straight week of going up, and the EPA has banned disposal of fracking wastewater at public treatment plants

For the third straight week, the number of rigs seeking oil and natural gas increased, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes in data released June 17.

The rig count went up 10 last week to 424. The number of rigs seeking oil increased from 328 to 337 and those seeking natural gas went from 85 to 86. There was one rig listed as miscellaneous.

A year ago the rig count was at 857.

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Among the major oil-producing states, Texas’ rig count jumped up by 13 last week to 191, while West Virginia went up by two. Alaska and Louisiana each lost one rig.

Remaining the same as the previous week were Arkansas (0), California (5), Colorado (16), Kansas (2), New Mexico (20), North Dakota (24), Ohio (12), Oklahoma (58), Pennsylvania (13), Utah (4) and Wyoming (7).

EPA Bans Disposal of Fracking Wastewater at Public Treatment Plants

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The EPA has banned the disposal of hydraulic fracturing wastewater at public sewage plants in Pennsylvania, formalizing a voluntary practice that removed most fracking waste from state plants starting in 2011.

The EPA finalized the rule June 13. It prevents operators from disposing of waste from unconventional oil and gas operations at publicly owned treatment plants. The rule is designed to prevent the entry into public water systems of contaminants such as heavy metals, chemical additives and high concentrations of salt that are associated with fracking.

Most energy companies already stopped sending fracking wastewater to public treatment plants starting in 2011 when the administration of former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett called on the industry to end the practice.

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