Recent Legal Decisions on Fracking

Full Disclosure on Fracking

The current U.S. administration obligates drilling companies that recover oil and natural gas on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in fracking or hydraulic fracturing methods, a technique of drilling that has been considered controversial yet is creating a continuous boom in the energy industry in the United States.

June 15, 2015 Rule Enforcement

By June 2015, a rule will update requirements for well construction and the disposal of flowback water and other fluids used in the procedure. The rule, which has been through deliberations for over four years has drawn criticism from the energy industry and environmental groups. The industry is alarmed by laws that may double the efforts of states in pursuing the procedure and could halt the industry’s boom and may raise the cost of fracking. Environmental groups also expressed that relaxed regulations could permit risky procedures and threaten ground water among many others.
Given the rule, companies are obliged to publicly reveal the chemicals they use within 30 days of the fracking procedure. This rule allows government employees to examine and certify the safety and integrity of the concrete barriers used for fracking. The rule sets safety standards on how companies can store chemicals used in fracking around well sites, and requires companies to present comprehensive information on well geology to the Bureau of Land Management, a division of the Interior Department.
The rule will allow sustained responsible development of federal gas reserves on millions of acres of public lands and guarantee transparent and effective safety and environmental care are at hand. However this rule only governs federal lands, thus far, the current U.S. administration hopes that the rule will be a template and set a new standard that states and other legislators will soon pursue. This rule could be a model that the energy industry can implement to deal with the public’s concern about health and the safety of fracking.

The Beginning of a Trend?

The new rule is anticipated to be the first in a progression of rules governing fracking safety. The administration is expected to issue rules on other matters about adverse effects from fracking wells.

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