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Shale & Fracking Tracker

News & Flashes

  • 19
  • November
  • 2013

Colorado and Ohio Elections Yield Different Results for Moratoriums on Hydraulic Fracturing

In Colorado, voters in Boulder, Fort Collins, and Broomfield approved five-year moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing within their boundaries in elections held on November 5th. The recently certified Broomfield vote was so close that it has triggered an automatic recount the week of November 19th. Lafayette, CO, voters approved a resolution banning hydraulic fracturing completely and preventing the transport of drilling waste or chemicals through the town. In Youngstown, OH, a "Community Bill of Rights" amendment to the city's charter that would have prohibited hydraulic fracturing failed by a ten percent margin. A similar charter amendment in Bowling Green, OH lost 75% to 25% while the college town of Oberlin, OH, approved a ballot initiative banning fracking within the city limits.

  • 18
  • November
  • 2013

California Releases Proposed Regulations on Well Stimulation

The Department of Conservation released proposed regulations on Friday, Nov. 15th implementing California's SB 4 legislation, signed Sept. 20th, requiring permits for all types of well stimulation, including hydraulic fracturing. The regulations outline requirements for the new well stimulation permits, set well integrity and casing requirements, and disclosure and water well testing requirements. The rulemaking notice and policy statement is available here. The comment period closes at 5pm on January 14, 2014. The text of the proposed rule is available here.

  • 14
  • November
  • 2013

Wyoming Requiring Pre-Drilling Groundwater Testing

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission unanimously approved rules on November 12th requiring companies to perform groundwater baseline sampling, analysis, and monitoring on water sources within a half-mile radius of a proposed well. The rule requires initial baseline water sampling followed by resampling 12 to 24 months and again 36 to 48 months after setting the production casing or liner. The rule allows for variances in certain instances, such as a landowner declining to grant access. It establishes notification requirements in the case of measured increases of gases, BTEX compounds, or TPH. The rule will not create a presumption of or against liability, fault, or causation. The rule goes into effect on march 1, 2014 and can be found here.

  • 01
  • November
  • 2013

Coast Guard Proposes Conditions for Transporting Shale Gas Extraction Waste by Barge

The Coast Guard issued a proposed policy letter on October 30th specifying conditions under which it will grant a Certificate of Inspection endorsement or letter allowing a barge to transport shale gas extraction waste water. In order to qualify for approval, the barge owner must have the composition of the waste water analyzed for specific parameters by a state-accredited laboratory. The policy establishes limits for radioactivity concentration and consignment activity that may be present. The Coast Guard letter also establishes safety conditions and procedures intended to protect personnel, including radiation monitoring surveys and open venting on tanks.

The proposed letter is available here and comments may be submitted through November 29, 2013 here.

  • 07
  • June
  • 2013

DOI Extends Comment Period on Fracking Rule By 60 Days

Interior Secretary Jewell announced on June 6 in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing that the Bureau of Land Management will extend the comment period on its proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations for an additional sixty days. This should put the close of the comment period at August 23, 2013.

To review the proposal or submit a comment, visit the BLM-2013-0002 docket page.

  • 16
  • May
  • 2013

DOI Releases New Draft Rules for Hydraulic Fracturing on Public Lands

The Department of the Interior (DOI) has released a revised draft proposed rule on hydraulic fracturing on public and Indian lands. The new proposal still requires chemical disclosure, includes well-bore integrity requirements, and requires a water management plan, but it provides more flexibility in the methods of compliance. The revised proposal would also allow operators to disclose chemical usage via the industry-supported FracFocus web site and would allow states to seek variances from the rule's requirements if they can demonstrate that their regulations are more stringent. See DOI's press release here and the full proposed rule here. Check back for more detailed analysis of the new rule early next week.

  • 10
  • April
  • 2013

Federal Court Requires BLM to Assess the Environmental Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently found that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it failed to assess the development impact of hydraulic fracturing in approving the lease of 2,700 acres of federal land in Monterrey and Fresno Counties. The Center for Biological Diversity argued that the BLM erroneously relied on single-well development scenarios that did not adequately consider the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling on the relevant parcels. The court rejected BLM's position that an analysis of the impacts was not necessary because there was no site-specific proposal to use hydraulic fracturing and held that because the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the parcels at issue are largely unknown at this time, the BLM's Finding of No Significant Impact and its failure to prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement violated NEPA. Read the decision here.

  • 22
  • March
  • 2013

New Performance Standards for Shale Development Released in Collaboration between Energy Companies and Environmentalists

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development has created new performance standards for shale gas development. The Center is a collaborative effort between energy companies and environmental groups. Two major companies have already agreed to an independent review of their shale oil and gas operations to determine whether they meet the Center's newly released standards. These standards will serve as the basis for a certification process, similar to the LEED standard for buildings, and the Center expects to begin certifying companies later this year. View the performance guidelines here.

  • 27
  • February
  • 2013

RRC Proposes Amendments to Casing, Cementing, Drilling, Well Control, and Completion Rules

On February 15, 2013, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) issued new proposed amendments to its rules governing casing, cementing, drilling, well control, and completion of oil and natural gas wells, which may be downloaded here. The RRC simultaneously withdrew its prior proposed amendments to these rules. The changes from the previous proposed amendments are largely technical in nature. The RRC will accept public comments on the new proposed amendments until 12:00 p.m. on April 1, 2013.

  • 13
  • February
  • 2013

Resources for the Future Releases Expert Survey

RFF has released a survey of experts on hydraulic fracturing titled "Pathways to Dialogue." Respondents came from NGOs, academia, government, and industry and the survey identified twelve "consensus risks" that all groups identified as high priorities related to shale gas development. RFF is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research – rooted primarily in economics and other social sciences – on environmental, energy, natural resource, and environmental health issues. For more information on the survey, visit rff.org/shaleexpertssurvey.

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