Obama administration issues fracking regulations for federal land

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Fracked well at sunsetThe Obama administration issued rules for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on federal land on Friday, which were met with criticism from both sides of the issue.

The Bureau of Land Management said drillers on federal lands must disclose the chemicals they use, as well as reinforce boreholes to prevent water leakage. Energy companies must also submit detailed information about proposed operations.

Almost immediately after the regulations were announced, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance filed a lawsuit on grounds that the proposed rules were based on unsubstantiated concerns.

Both industry groups and Republicans called the regulations unnecessary and voiced concerns that the Obama administration s fracking rules would slow down the US energy renaissance.

The Obama administration s rule on hydraulic fracturing adds unnecessary, duplicative red tape that will in turn make it more costly and arduous for our nation to pursue energy security, said Senator and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK). There is no logical reason to add a new layer of top-down bureaucratic regulation that duplicates what is already being done effectively by the states.

Anti-fracking activists, on the other hand, said the regulations were not strict enough of course, they likely won t be happy unless fracking is banned altogether.

ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross added this comment: The shrill protests against hydraulic fracturing are based on nothing related to science, health or the environment. While fracking has been safely and widely performed for about 60 years, and has resulted in zero documented contaminations or health effects, the activists, spurred on by conflicted entertainment moguls and wealthy landowners in New York state, just keep on coming. Nevertheless, the Obama Interior Dept. has issued regulations which will tend to restrain fracking development, based on nothing more than the precautionary principle: fear or concern about hypothetical risks. This approach was used by NY Gov. Cuomo to ban fracking, kowtowing to his left-wing enviro base. On the plus side, the new regulations could have been even more onerous.

To get the science-based evaluation of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, see ACSH s publications here and here.