The Department of Interior announced some new rules today for the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” on federal lands. The rules require companies drilling in those areas to disclose what chemicals are used in the process, but the chemicals aren’t disclosed until the well has already been fracked. There are also two other parts of the rule that deal with well construction and water management.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a statement today that “as we continue to offer millions of acres of America’s public lands for oil and gas development, it is critical that the public have full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place.”
America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a group that represents gas drillers, said they are still looking at the new rules, but that “at first glance it indicates that the Department of the Interior and, in particular the Bureau of Land Management, may not fully appreciate the significant regulatory steps already undertaken by states such as Colorado, Texas, Wyoming and others to oversee the safe and responsible development of natural gas through the use of hydraulic fracturing.”
The rules may not have much of an effect on drilling in Texas, because there are very few federal lands in the state, and the few that are here are mostly managed by the Forest Service and Military as opposed to the Bureau of Land Management. You can see a map of federal lands in Texas here.