|NGWA provided comments on the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed rescission of its 2015 Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing Rule, which set standards for hydraulic fracturing on federal BLM and Indian lands.
BLM’s main rationale for the rescission was 32 states had or have since adopted standards protective of groundwater and the subsurface. The rule had not yet been implemented, as a federal court had stayed implementation.
BLM’s Regulatory Impact Analysis of state standards examined state hydraulic fracturing regulations in nine states: California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
NGWA found state coverage across several measures to be lacking in areas such as monitoring of cementing operations, verifying production zone isolation, and use of tanks for flowback storage, among others.
NGWA’s comments urged BLM to address these gaps by working with states and federal agencies to provide resources and guidance to states protective of groundwater—particularly if the rule is rescinded.
Click here to read NGWA’s comments.
While the BLM rule has not been implemented, best practices should continue to be reinforced in areas of unconventional oil and gas development to ensure groundwater supplies remain viable.