Federal Register

On May 11, 2012, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule titled Oil and Gas; Well Stimulation, Including Hydraulic Fracturing, on Federal and Indian Lands. Because of significant public interest in hydraulic fracturing and this rulemaking, on May 24, 2013, the BLM published in the Federal Register a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comment titled Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands. The BLM has used the comments on the supplemental proposed rule and the earlier proposed rule in drafting this final rule. Key changes to the final rule include the allowable use of an expanded set of cement evaluation tools to help ensure that usable water zones have been isolated and protected from contamination, replacement of the “type well” concept to demonstrate well integrity with a requirement to demonstrate well integrity for all wells, more stringent requirements related to claims of trade secrets exempt from disclosure, more protective requirements to ensure that fluids recovered during hydraulic fracturing operations are contained, additional disclosure and public availability of information about each hydraulic fracturing operation, and revised records retention requirements to ensure that records of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations are retained for the life of the well. The final rule also provides opportunities for the BLM to coordinate standards and processes with individual states and tribes to reduce administrative costs and to improve efficiency.