Interior Dept. Extends Comment Period On Fracking Rule

Companies that drill for oil and natural gas — and their critics — will have 60 more days to comment on a new rule regulating hydraulic fracturing operations on public lands.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the extension Thursday after industry groups and environmentalists said they needed more time to digest a 171-page “fracking” rule proposed last month.

The rule requires companies for the first time to disclose publicly the chemicals used in fracking operations. It also sets standards for proper construction of wells and disposal of wastewater. Barclay Nicholson is a partner with the Houston office of Norton Rose Fulbright.

“The concern is, are we going to have different regulations that in some ways conflict with one another. We have state regulations. We now have this federal regulation that’s being proposed. And then you also have in some towns and municipalities another layer of regulation on the industry.”

Secretary Jewell says the rule would increase safety while improving coordination with states and Indian tribes. Drilling regulations were last changed in 1982. Comments on the proposal will be accepted through late August.



Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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