DOI Releases Long-Awaited Proposed Rules on Hydraulic Fracturing on BLM and Indian Lands

On May 4, 2012, the Department of Interior released long-awaited proposed rules concerning hydraulic fracturing on Bureau of Land Management and Indian lands.

These proposed rules stems from a forum in November 2010 covering hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands, followed by several meeting with interested stakeholders.

The draft rules were leaked to the media in February 2012, which is discussed in Fulbright’s Client Briefing, Department of Interior Releases Draft Rule of Well Stimulation.

Recently, President Obama issued an Executive Order calling for safe and responsible development of unconventional domestic natural gas resources, which created an interagency task force comprised of 13 agencies and offices, including, but not limited to:
The goal of the task force is to coordinate agency policy, share scientific, environmental, and related technical and economic information, and engage in long-term planning to ensure coordination amongst the agencies.

The DOI has indicated that these proposed rules received feedback from these agencies.

Oil and gas operators will be required to disclose chemicals in hydraulic fracturing operations, but this disclosure of chemicals only needs to be provided after drilling has begun. 

Previously, the draft rules required that the disclosure of chemicals occur before any proposed stimulation of the well. Additionally, the goal of the proposed rules are to improve assurances of well-bore integrity and ensure that a water management plan is in place for handling flow back fracturing fluids.

Fulbright's Shale and Hydraulic's Task Force is preparing a more detailed Client Alert concerning the revisions from the draft rules and the proposed impact to oil and gas operators.

DOI Resources