Last year the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the Department of the Interior, released a draft rule to govern hydraulic fracturing on public lands, but it was so heavily criticised by Republicans and drilling companies that Obama’s administration had to withdraw the proposal and return to the drawing board.
Fracking is used for about 90% of all wells on public lands, so this set of regulations is due to affect a lot of companies. On Thursday a second draft was released, and to much more support from oil and gas industry representatives; although still not everyone is happy.
Erik Milito, the director of Industry Operations for American Petroleum Institute, said that, “while changes to the proposed rule attempt to better acknowledge the state role, BLM has yet to answer the question why BLM is moving forward with these requirements in the first place.”
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Senator Lisa Mukowski of Alaska, remarked that “it appears BLM has addressed some of the concerns, but we still must guard against duplicative and potentially contradictory regulations.”
It has been estimated that the new regulations will cost the industry around $20 million a year, less than half the expected cost of the first draft of regulations. Neil Kornze, the principle deputy of the BLM, stated that the “thorough review of all the comments convinced us that we could maintain a strong level of protection of health, safety, and the environment while allowing for increased flexibility and reduced regulatory duplication.”
Parties will have 30 days to comment after the official publication in the Federal Register.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com