WASHINGTON – The Obama administration proposed updated rules for oil and gas development on federal lands – an effort to catch up with the boom in use of the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing – but struck a compromise that failed to satisfy industry and most environmentalists.
Both sides focused on the contentious issue of disclosure of compounds that companies use during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which entails injecting millions of gallons of water and sand laced with chemicals into rock formations to unlock oil and gas deposits.
The proposed rules would require companies for the first time to disclose the chemicals they use within 30 days of fracking a well on federal land.
Earlier versions of the Interior Department proposal would have required companies to disclose to regulators the chemicals they planned to use before fracking a well.
Most wells that are fracked are on private property. But the rules are meant to introduce some uniformity to fracking practices and provide a guideline to states that have begun regulating the technique.