BLM releases revised proposed rules on hydraulic fracturing

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees approximately 700 million subsurface acres of federal mineral estate and 56 million subsurface acres of tribal mineral estate across the United States. Currently, nearly 36 million acres of federal land are under lease for potential oil and gas development.

On May 11, 2012, BLM published a proposed rule governing hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands for public comment. The May 2012 proposal sought to update rules for oil and gas drilling on public and Indian lands by requiring the disclosure of fracturing fluids, satisfaction of various well construction standards, and management of flowback waters. BLM received over 177,000 public comments on the proposed rule.

Today, BLM released a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Request for Comment, updating its earlier proposal. The supplemental proposed rule revises the set of evaluation tools oil and gas operators may use to show that groundwater is being protected and provides more detailed guidance on how trade secrets claims will be handled, modeled on the procedures promulgated by the State of Colorado.

The 30-day public comment period will start when the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register.

This post was prepared by Heather M. Corken ( or 713 651 8386) and Ted Bosquez ( or 724 416 0423) from Fulbright's Environmental Law Practice Group.