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BLM Update - Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Rule And Additional Environmental Data Requirements


BLM recognizes and understands the public's concerns related to hydraulic fracturing. In May 2012, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule entitled Oil and Gas; Well Stimulation, Including Hydraulic Fracturing, on Federal and Indian Lands. The BLM used the comments on that draft to make improvements, and in May 2013, published a revised proposed rule incorporating those comments. Key issues in the updated draft included: the use of an expanded set of cement evaluation tools to help ensure that usable water zones have been isolated and protected from contamination; and more detailed guidance on how trade secrets claims will be handled, modeled on the procedures promulgated by the State of Colorado. The revised proposed rule also provided opportunities for the BLM to coordinate standards and processes with individual States and tribes to reduce administrative costs and to improve efficiency. After receiving more than 1.35 million comments on that revised proposed rule, BLM is currently preparing a final rule that will consider the additional comments. A final rule is expected to be published January 2015.

In addition, to facilitate a more thorough analysis of effects of these activities on public lands, BLM California has begun asking oil and gas operators for additional data to be incorporated into Applications for Permits to Drill (APDs). These data include information related to water management (aquifers, volumes and source of fluids, along with disposal of flowback fluids) and air quality.