Proposed Federal Fracking Rules Delayed

Jun 25, 2012

The Department of Interior has authorized a 60 day extension of the comment period for the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations, following concerns from the oil and gas industry. The rules would call for companies that use fracking to disclose the chemicals they use, and address waste water and drilling issues.

Governor Matt Mead voiced opposes the plan, saying that the federal rules are unnecessary because they duplicate Wyoming’s current laws. Oil and gas officials fear the regulations will slow down the permitting process and cost companies time and money. But Jill Morrison with the Powder River Basin Resource Council says, it’s important to have fracking regulations that apply across all states.

“All states in the west don’t have the same types of rules and regulations, but at least the BLM would have a set standard that would apply across state boundaries,” Morrison says.

            Newer drafts of the regulations will also call for the disclosure of the chemicals companies use for fracking using an industry-developed database called FracFocus. Jill Morrison says, FracFocus isn’t an appropriate way to compile information about fracking.

 “We don’t support submission to FracFocus. It doesn’t guarantee accuracy. And it’s not an official body that you can have any appeal to or address any problems with. It’s a big weakness in the proposed BLM rules,” Morrison says.

The new rules represent the first time the federal government has attempted to regulate fracking. With the extensions, the proposed regulations could go into effect in September