On March 20, Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the release of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule, titled, “Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands,” which BLM announced will take effect 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.
According to a BLM news release accompanying the final rule, key components of the rule include:
- “provisions for ensuring the protection of groundwater supplies by requiring a validation of well integrity and strong cement barriers between the wellbore and water zones through which the wellbore passes”
- “increased transparency by requiring companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing to BLM through the website FracFocus, within 30 days of completing fracturing operations”
- “higher standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing to mitigate risks to air, water and wildlife”
- “measures to lower the risk of cross-well contamination with chemicals and fluids used in the fracturing operation, by requiring companies to submit more detailed information on the geology, depth, and location of preexisting wells to afford the BLM an opportunity to better evaluate and manage unique site characteristics.”
After BLM released the final rule, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Western Energy Alliance filed a lawsuit in Federal Court challenging the rule.