Category Archives: Hydraulic Fracturing

EPA Extends Comment Period

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is extending the public comment period for 30 days on its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) for the hydraulic fracturing chemicals and mixtures rule. The ANPR was published on May 19, and comments were originally due on August 18; however the notice extends the deadline for public comments until September 18. EPA is seeking public comment on how it can obtain information on chemical substances and mixtures used in hydraulic fracturing, and whether it should implement a regulatory (under TSCA sec. 8(a) and/or 8(d)) and/or Read more [...]

Senators Ask EPA to End Hydraulic Fracturing Investigation

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U.S. Republican Senators David Vitter (R-LA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), sent a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr. informing him that they view the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG’s) recent announcement of plans to conduct research into states’ ability to regulate hydraulic fracturing and its potential threat on water sources as “wholly inappropriate,” and request that the investigation end immediately. The senators believe the planned research is outside of the scope of the EPA OIG’s core mission, Read more [...]

Board Seeks New Approach to Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Disclosures

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The Department of Energy (DOE) released a draft report of the findings and recommendations of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Task Force on FracFocus 2.0. The 24-page report recommends “full disclosure of all known constituents” in fluids that are used in hydraulic fracturing. The report advocates for a “systems approach,” which would require “reporting by disaggregated chemicals.” This method would see chemicals reported separately from the additive names and products that contain them. SEAB’s believes that this approach should adequately protect trade secrets. The Read more [...]

Senators Introduce Flaring Reduction Bill

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Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY), John Barrasso (R-WY) and John Howevn (R-ND) introduced the Natural Gas Gathering Enhancement Act. The bill would expedite permitting of natural gas gathering lines on Federal and Indian land. Natural gas gathering lines will allow unprocessed natural gas to be transported from wells to natural gas processing plants that can separate the gasses (e.g. methane, ethane, propane) from each other. This will enable companies to capture and transmit more natural gas, and is hoped to reduce flaring. Sen. Hoeven stated that North Dakota wants to reduce flaring by over 60 percent in Read more [...]

Landowners Sue Governor Cuomo to Move On Hydraulic Fracturing

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The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York filed a suit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in an effort to force the state to issue an environmental impact statement (EIS) on hydraulic fracturing. The EIS is required under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The plaintiffs request that the court compel the state DEC to complete the EIS, as it will determine whether New York will allow hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. The suit was filed in the state Supreme Court. Read more [...]

Fort Collins Seeks Dismissal of Suit As Groups Step In to Intervene on Hydraulic Fracturing Moratorium

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The City of Fort Collins filed a motion asking the court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) that would overturn the city’s voter-approved moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. Fort Collins’ motion to dismiss argues that its residents have “the full right of self-government in local and municipal matters” under the state constitution. The University of Denver Environmental Law Clinic filed a motion to intervene on behalf of Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins, the Sierra Club and Earthworks. The groups argue that COGA’s suit is an attempt to bypass Read more [...]

EPA Issues Final NPDES General Permit for Hydraulic Fracturing Off of Southern California

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EPA published its notice of availability of its final general National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for discharges from offshore oil and gas exploration, development and production facilities in Federal waters off the Southern California coast. The permit applies to 23 existing development and production platforms and any new exploratory operations located in the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf. It requires operators to maintain an inventory of the quantities and concentration of the specific chemicals used “to formulate well treatment, completion and workover fluids.” Read more [...]

Administrator Acknowledges Challenges in Hydraulic Fracturing Studies

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At a December 2 event at the Center for American Progress (CAP), Administrator McCarthy spoke about the challenges EPA faces with studies on hydraulic fracturing. Due to limited baseline water quality data, the agency is unable to draw conclusions about potential risks hydraulic fracturing poses to drinking water. According to an EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) official, EPA will not include two prospective case studies that were to be included in the December 2014 report on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. The agency has not been able to work with individual Read more [...]

EPA/DOI Urged to Curb Methane Emissions

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Over 90 groups—including the Clean Air Task Force, EarthJustice, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Clean Water Action and Center for Biological Diversity (CBD)—sent a letter to Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy urging the agencies to take immediate actions to curb methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The letter asks DOI to update its methane control policies and EPA to undertake immediate rulemaking to reduce methane from new and existing oil and gas equipment.

House Passes Bill Limiting BLM’s Authority

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The House voted on HR 2728 and approved the legislation by a vote of 235 to 187. The legislation would prevent the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from enforcing any federal rules or guidance relating to hydraulic fracturing in states that already have regulations or guidance related to hydraulic fracturing. BLM is currently reviewing more than 1 million public comments it received on its proposed rule, and is not expected to release a final rule until September 2014. The White House announced that it will veto the bill as it hinders the government’s ability to safely manage hydraulic fracturing Read more [...]