BLM finalized its new fracking rules on March 20. Key components of the rule, which took effect June 24 include:
- Provisions for ensuring the protection of groundwater supplies by requiring a validation of well integrity and strong cement barriers between the wellbore and water zones through which the wellbore passes;
- Increased transparency by requiring companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing to the Bureau of Land Management through the website FracFocus, within 30 days of completing fracturing operations;
- Higher standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing to mitigate risks to air, water and wildlife;
- Measures to lower the risk of cross-well contamination with chemicals and fluids used in the fracturing operation, by requiring companies to submit more detailed information on the geology, depth, and location of preexisting wells to afford the BLM an opportunity to better evaluate and manage unique site characteristics.
Interior-EPA appropriations bill also contains a provision prohibiting funds from being used to implement, administer, or enforce the final rule entitled “Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands” as published in the Federal Register on March 26 and March 30, 2015.
On June 23rd, opponents of the fracking regulations went before a federal judge in Wyoming to seek a preliminary injunction of the rules. That judge has stayed implementation of new federal rules regarding hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas wells pending further study.