US Interior Department sets new rule for ‘fracking’

From Capitol Report New Mexico - The new boss at the U.S. Department of the Interior has established a new rule for hydraulic fracturing (commonly called “fracking”) on federal lands that seems to have pleased neither environmentalists nor oil and gas producers. According to the Associated Press, new Interior secretary Sally Jewell and the Obama administration announced Thursday (May 16) that companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands will be required to disclose publicly the chemicals used in fracking operations. Not surprisingly, oil and gas producers complained about the ruling, saying it’s unnecessary.
     But at least one environmental group complained too, saying the decision is a watered-down version of an earlier proposal. “It is clear what happened: the Bureau of Land Management caved to the wealthy and powerful oil and gas industry and left the public to fend for itself,” Jessica Ennis, a spokeswoman for the environmental group Earthjustice told AP. A big reason for the complaint from environmentalists hinges on the ruling calling for disclosure of chemicals to go to a group called FracFocus, a voluntary site where companies self-report.
     According to the Interior Department, domestic production from more than 92,000 oil and gas wells on public lands accounts for about 13 percent of the nation’s natural gas production and 5 percent of U.S. oil production. In an Interior report last year, oil and gas activity on BLM-managed lands in New Mexico was linked to 47,807 direct jobs and $10.9 billion in direct output. Read more