PoliticalNews.me - May 06,2012 - Interior Releases Draft Rule Requiring Public Disclosure of Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing on Public and Indian Lands
Commonsense Measures Will Support Safe and Responsible Increased Production of America’s Resources
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In support of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, and the Obama administration’s goal of continuing to expand responsible oil and gas production, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the release of a proposed rule to require companies to publicly disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations on public and Indian lands, with appropriate protections for proprietary information.
Currently, there is no specific requirement for operators to disclose these chemicals on federal and Indian lands, where approximately 90 percent of the wells drilled use hydraulic fracturing to greatly increase the volume of oil and gas available for production. The proposed rule would require public disclosure of chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing after fracturing operations have been completed.
This common-sense measure, which builds on the preliminary input received from the public, industry, tribal representatives, and other stakeholders, supports the continued development of America’s abundant oil and gas resources on federal and Indian lands by taking steps to ensure public confidence in well stimulation techniques and technologies, including hydraulic fracturing. It is also in line with steps that some states have already taken, requiring operators to disclose the chemicals they use in activities on state lands.
The draft rule, which can be viewed here along with economic analysis and an appendix, also contains two additional, commonsense measures to ensure development continues safely and responsibly:
•Improving assurances on well-bore integrity to verify that fluids used in wells during fracturing operations are not escaping; and
•Confirming that oil and gas operators have a water management plan in place for handling fracturing fluids that flow back to the surface.
Already, technological advancements like hydraulic fracturing have allowed development of previously uneconomic natural gas and oil deposits. In fact, since 2008, U.S. oil and natural gas production has increased each year. In 2011, U.S. crude oil production reached its highest level in 8 years, and U.S. natural gas production grew in 2011 as well – the largest year-over-year volumetric increase in history – easily eclipsing the previous all-time production record set in 1973. Overall, oil imports have been falling since 2005, and oil import dependence declined from 57 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2011 – the lowest level since 1995.
During the first three years of the Obama Administration combined, federal oil production has increased by 13 percent and total natural gas production from onshore public lands has increased by six percent, compared with totals from 2006-2008. This proposed rule will strengthen the requirements for hydraulic fracturing performed on federal and Indian lands in order to build public confidence and protect the health of American communities, while ensuring continued access to the important resources that make up our energy economy.
“As the President has made clear, this administration’s energy strategy is an all-out effort to boost American production of every