BLM sends federal rules governing use of hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands to OMB. On August 29, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sent revised final regulations governing hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. BLM initially published a proposed rule in 2012, and after receiving public comment, published a revised proposal the following year. The rules are expected to address a spectrum of issues including well integrity, chemical disclosure and the storage and disposal of flowback water, but the details of the final rule sent to OMB remain undisclosed at this time. BLM has indicated that a final rule could be issued later this fall.
Independent scientific review on potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing released. The California Council on Science and Technology, a non-partisan scientific research organization, issued an independent scientific review of California’s oil and gas development operations using hydraulic fracturing. Commissioned by BLM and peer-reviewed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the report found that overall, the direct environmental impacts from hydraulic fracturing operations in California were relatively limited. The report concluded that fracking itself does not result in an increased seismic hazard in the state, and that the main potential impacts on the environment would come from related activities such as increased traffic and wastewater disposal. The researchers also found no reported instances of potable water contamination, while noting certain data limitations on its work, including insufficient groundwater quality data near certain hydraulic fracturing operations. Based on the results of the study, BLM plans to resume oil and gas leasing in California for the first time since late 2012. The agency anticipates holding an oil and gas lease sale by the summer of 2015, after it takes time to evaluate nominated land parcels, solicit public comment and conduct additional environmental review.