The US Bureau of Land Management withdrew its proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations and announced that a new draft will be prepared during 2013’s first quarter. BLM is preparing a new version in response to the more than 170,000 comments it received to the original proposal, the US Department of the Interior said on Jan. 18.
“In response to comments from stakeholders and the public, BLM is making improvements to the draft proposal in order to maximize flexibility, facilitate coordination with state practices and ensure that operators on public lands implement best practices,” a DOI spokesman said. Additional comments will be sought on the new proposal once it is issued, he added.
The draft that was withdrawn was issued in May 2012, and the public comment period on it closed in September. BLM began revising the draft soon after in response to concerns which were raised and to incorporate suggestions which were received, and will submit revisions to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review within a week, according to a DOI source.
The source said the new draft rule will include the original’s three main components: requiring operators to disclose chemicals they use in fracing operations on public lands; improving assurances on wellbore integrity to verify that fracing fluids used in wells are not escaping; and confirming that oil and gas operators have a water management plan in place for handling fracing fluids that flow back to the surface.
BLM plans to issue final rules after it considers public comments on the new draft later this year.