In May 2013, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) re-proposed updates to regulations governing hydraulic fracturing for the first time in decades. Hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking,” is a method of extracting oil and gas that involves pumping water, proppant, and chemicals underground at high pressures to fracture rock layers.
The proposed rule would apply to more than 750 million subsurface acres of federal and Indian mineral estate, including lands managed by the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. The BLM proposal contains three components: chemical disclosure, well integrity, and flowback water management. While it is important that BLM update its regulations, this draft is sorely inadequate and even weaker than the previously proposed rules. At a minimum, the BLM should have standards at least as strong as state-level requirements.