First-Ever Federal Fracking Rules Issued by Interior Department
The trade groups [Independent Petroleum Association of America and Western Energy Alliance] said the new rules are a “reaction to unsubstantiated concerns” and should be thrown out. Interior Department officials said they expect the rules to withstand challenges. [See IPAA's press release].
While only 11 percent of gas and 5 percent of oil fracking takes place on federal, including tribal lands, according to Harder and Gilbert, "states and companies could move to bring their practices in line with the U.S. (rules)." Major "energy-producing states such as Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas regulate fracking already, there have been no overarching standards."
For environmental groups, the limited disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process was disappointing. Rather than disclosure to the Interior Department where they would be accessible to the public, "the new rules require companies to publicly disclose chemicals they use through an industry-run website called FracFocus within 30 days of completing the fracking process," write Harder and Gilbert.
“While this proposal has improved from previous versions, it represents a missed opportunity to set a high bar for protections that would truly increase transparency and reduce the impacts,” said Madeleine Foote, legislative representative for the League of Conservation Voters. [See their press release].
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