On May 16, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the release of an updated draft proposal that would establish standards for hydraulic fracturing on public lands. Following the release of an initial draft proposal in 2012, DOI received over 177,000 public comments that were considered prior to the release of the updated draft proposal. There will be a 30 day public-comment period, which will begin once the draft is published in the Federal Register.
“As the President has made clear, this administration’s priority is to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production. In line with that goal, we are proposing some commonsense updates that increase safety while also providing flexibility and facilitating coordination with states and tribes,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “As we continue to offer millions of acres of America’s public lands for oil and gas development, it is important that the public has full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place.”
NACo has requested that the Bureau of Land Management defer the regulation of hydraulic fracturing to the states that already have hydraulic fracturing regulations in place, based on state primacy over groundwater as defined in the state constitution, and instead provide basic rules to states that have no rules related to hydraulic fracturing. Proactive state regulations have the highest likelihood for successful protection of water resources because they are best able to respond to localized impacts and issues, as opposed to a redundant federal hydraulic fracturing rule.