Twelve senators weigh in on rules for fracking on public lands

In a letter dated September 30, 2014, twelve Senate Democrats urged the implementation of “the strongest possible safeguards” for the use of hydraulic fracturing on Federal lands. The letter comes on the heels of the Department of the Interior sending rule(s) for “governing the practice of hydraulic fracturing on public lands” to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for finalizing.

While the letter does not have the level of specificity one would expect the eventual rule(s) to have, the Senators urged the inclusion of three requirements they deem “imperative”: 

  1. “[r]obust requirements for public disclosure of all [fracking fluid] chemicals and additives; 
  2. a free, searchable public database containing such disclosures; and 
  3. “[s]trong and consistent requirements for well construction and integrity and wastewater management for every well drilled on public lands . . . .” In the Senators’ words, the “rule should serve to build on existing state standards in a way that ensures there is a floor of protection in all states.”
The text of the rule(s) has not yet been released. However, you can review the May 2013 draft of the rule(s).”
This post was written by Barclay Nicholson ( or 713 651 3662) and Jim Hartle ( or 713 651 5695) from Norton Rose Fulbright's Energy Practice Group.