Fracking Rules Draw Praise from Hunters and Anglers
Sportsmen underscore need for transparency, balanced natural resources management on public lands as new energy regulations are weighed
DENVER – The Bureau of Land Management’s proposed rules on public disclosure of the contents of hydraulic fracturing fluids, as well as the handling of wastewater and the integrity of well casings, represent a step forward in ensuring responsible energy development on public lands, a sportsmen’s coalition said Monday.
Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development has called on the BLM to make sure resources such as water, fish and wildlife are conserved when oil and gas are developed on public lands. The draft rule on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a prudent response to concerns about the potential impacts of drilling and the handling of drilling fluids on the lands that are crucial to the West’s water supplies, fish and wildlife, said Brad Powell, energy director for Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project. TU is a member of the SFRED coalition.
The proposed federal rule would require public disclosure of the chemicals in fracking fluids before and during drilling. Companies stating that the fracking mixtures are proprietary would have to explain why the information should be kept from the public.
The proposal also addresses testing to ensure the integrity of well casings, pipes placed down a borehole and held in place by cement to keep the oil and gas from mingling with anything else.
The document includes rules for safely storing a ND disposing of waste from recovered fluids.
Some states, including Wyoming and Colorado, have approved regulations requiring disclosure of fracking fluids’ contents as increased drilling has raised concerns about the chemicals used.
“Complete and timely public disclosure is an important step toward ensuring that public health, water quality, fish and wildlife are protected from contamination by hydraulic fracturing,” said Michael Saul, attorney with the National Wildlife Federation, also an SFRED member. “BLM is moving in the right direction by mandating disclosure of all chemicals and by codifying the prohibition on unlined storage pits.”
“Sportsmen are pleased that our federal decision makers recognize the need to increase transparency during all phases of energy planning and development,” said Tom Franklin, senior director of science and policy for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, an SFRED member. “We will continue to work closely with the administration, Congress, industry and our conservation partners to assure that public lands energy projects employ a science-based approach that sustains our nation’s fish and wildlife resources and outdoors opportunities.”
Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development is a coalition of more than 500 businesses, organizations and individuals dedicated to conserving irreplaceable habitats so future generations can hunt and fish on public lands. The coalition is led by Trout Unlimited, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the National Wildlife Federation.
Katherine K. McKalip
Director of Media Relations
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership