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Voices on all sides of the debate over hydraulic fracturing are weighing in on new federal mandates proposed for the drilling technology, with industry leaders saying the rules are unnecessary and costly while environmentalists say they don’t go far enough.
More than 100,000 public comments had been filed on the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed rule by Thursday afternoon, ahead of a Friday deadline.
The proposed rule would set new standards for the integrity of wells to ensure groundwater is isolated from fracturing fluids and flowing hydrocarbons. Companies also would be required to have water management plans for handling any liquids that flow back to the surface, in response to concerns that the material can be contaminated with naturally occurring radioactive substances found underground.
In a concession to oil and gas companies, the Bureau of Land Management has proposed requiring drillers to disclose the chemicals they pump underground only after the work is done and through the industry-backed website FracFocus, rather than setting up a government-run disclosure system.
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