BLM Rescinds Rule on Hydraulic Fracturing
Action supports president’s priorities for streamlining permitting
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of President Trump’s goal to reduce the burden of federal regulations that hinder economic growth and energy development, the Bureau of Land Management today announced in the Federal Register a final rule to rescind the 2015 final rule on hydraulic fracturing, a rule that was never in effect due to pending litigation. The BLM published a proposed rule to rescind the 2015 final rule in the Federal Register on July 25, 2017. (82 FR 34464).
The BLM reviewed the 2015 final rule as part of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Secretarial Order No. 3349, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, issued on March 29, 2017. During the review, the BLM found that all 32 of the 32 states with federal oil and gas leases have regulations that address hydraulic fracturing. Furthermore, since the 2015 final rule was published, more companies are using state regulatory agencies and/or databases such as FracFocus to disclose the chemical content of hydraulic fracturing fluids.
The BLM estimates that approximately 1700 production wells were or would be drilled in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 on Federal and Indian lands. Of those wells drilled in FY17, it is estimated that approximately 90 percent were completed using hydraulic fracturing techniques to stimulate production. During the past 15 years, there have been significant technological advances in horizontal drilling. The technique is now frequently combined with hydraulic fracturing to help release significant quantities of oil and gas from shale and other tight geologic formations.
The BLM’s rule supports the Administration’s priorities that require agencies to seek ways to reduce the costs of regulatory compliance (Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs) and that require the Secretary to review four specific rules, including the BLM’s 2015 final rule on hydraulic fracturing (Executive Order 13783, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth).
The final rule is available for review on the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.