Fracking now allowed on public lands

Obama administration rule is rescinded

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The Interior Department rescinded a 2015 Obama administration rule that would have set new environmental limitations on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on public lands.

The regulation would have required the disclosure of the chemicals contained in fluids injected into the wells, and improved standards for building wells and dispensing of waste. It was tied up in the courts and had not gone into effect.

The decision, announced on Dec. 31, affects only public lands, a small but significant portion of the lands used for fracking. The gas industry called the regulations "duplicative, unnecessary, costly and unproductive."

Michael Freeman, staff attorney for Earthjustice, who represented citizen groups in backing the Obama-era regulations, called them "long-overdue protections for our public lands, water and public health.”

About the Trump administration's effort to rescind the regulation he said in July, “This is another cynical move by the Trump administration that sacrifices our public lands and public safety as a favor to the oil and gas industry."

The Interior Department said rescinding the rule would save the gas industry “up to $9,690 per well or approximately $14 million to $34 million per year” in costs.

In the meantime, the Delaware River Basin Commission is drawing up regulations to ban fracking in the basin. The revised draft rules will include prohibitions on the production of natural gas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, better known as "fracking." They will also provide for the safe storage, treatment, disposal, and discharge of hydraulic fracturing-related wastewater and regulate inter-basin transfers of water and wastewater for natural gas development wherever these activities are permitted.

Online "Delaware River frack ban moves forward":

Office of the Federal Register, Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands; Rescission of a 2015 Rule:

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  • Mar 22, 2018


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