On Thursday, May 16, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its latest proposed fracking regulations. The proposed regulations would require wider disclosure of fracking chemicals. The regulations also require water management plans for flow back water and rules to assure wellbore integrity. Chemicals used in the process would be disclosed to FracFocus.org, an online database that Colorado and ten other states use for disclosure of chemicals. The regulations do provide an exemption for chemicals deemed to be trade secrets.
According to media reports, the draft regulations have been criticized by both the oil and gas industry, and environmental groups. The oil and gas industry continues to take the position that regulation is best left in state hands. Environmental groups counter that the regulations now being proposed are weaker than those previously proposed by the BLM. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is on record that regulation should be left to the states, testifying before Congress earlier this year on the subject.
The regulations, if adopted, will apply to oil and gas operations on federal lands. There are approximately 440 million acres nationwide, with 1.5 million acres currently used for producing oil and gas in Colorado and 4.2 million acres in Colorado that have been leased for possible future development.
The public has thirty days to comment on the proposed regulations. The proposed regulations can be found here.