New BLM Fracking Rule Brings Crucial Oversight to Oil & Gas Development

EDF Statement from Associate Vice President Mark Brownstein

March 20, 2015


Anna Geismar, (512) 691-3468,

EDF welcomes the Bureau of Land Management’s finalization of rules on hydraulic fracturing and other issues related to oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands.  With today’s announcement, BLM takes an important step toward addressing several critical issues associated with oil and gas development. The new policy addresses disclosure of hydraulic fracturing chemicals, pre-drilling assessment of subsurface conditions, and some important aspects of well integrity, water supply protection, and management of contaminated water produced during hydraulic fracturing.

The following is a statement by EDF Associate Vice President Mark Brownstein:

“BLM oversees 100,000 onshore oil and gas wells spread over 12.5 million acres, which produce over 10 percent of the nation’s natural gas supply, so it is absolutely critical to bring the agency’s rules up to speed to meet today’s challenges.

“Equally important, it is critical that BLM have the resources and the administrative commitment necessary to implement these requirements.  Words on paper mean little if not implemented and enforced. With this rule, the agency is taking important steps to ensure that hydraulic fracturing on public lands is done according to ambitious new safety and environmental standards.

“As steward of public lands, BLM has an obligation to the citizens of the United States to make sure that whatever oil and gas development occurs on federal lands is done with the utmost attention to environmental protection. But states also play an important role here, and we strongly encourage BLM to work constructively with them, as they have expertise, talent, and resources that must be engaged for effective oversight of these new rules.”

In comments to the BLM in September of 2012 and in August of 2013, EDF called for significantly enhancing the original proposal’s well construction, testing and monitoring requirements, improving the proposed chemical disclosure program, and adding certain safeguards for waste storage. EDF will be reviewing the rules in detail to assess how our comments were addressed and the overall effectiveness of the package being adopted today.

In January, the Obama Administration committed to addressing venting, flaring, and leaks of natural gas on federal lands, and Secretary Jewell has indicated that we can expect to see a proposed rule package later this spring. Addressing this issue is critical to avoiding waste of America’s energy resources and combatting methane pollution, a significant contributor to global warming today. EDF anxiously awaits the proposal of these rules.

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