The Obama Administration has proposed new regulations for hydraulic fracturing on 756 million acres of public and tribal lands. The rules were written by the drilling industry and will be streamlined into effect by a new intergovernmental task force, established by the president, to promote fracking — a practice that has been linked to water poisoning, air pollution, methane emissions and, most recently, earthquakes. Environmentalists, many of whom are highly skeptical that fracking can even be regulated, hope to use a brief window for citizen participation in the rule approval process to leverage the growing anti-fracking movement.
The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) — the government agency that manages the public lands in question — follows a dual and often conflicting mandate. Although it is charged with conserving lands for recreation and biological diversity, it must also ensure the commercial development of natural resources. The bureau tends to focus heavily on the latter part of its mission, and it has auctioned off public land for resource extraction, including oil and gas development, while following drilling regulations that were last updated in 1988, before fracking became a common practice.
- The truth to Fracking (amanandhisbrain.wordpress.com)
- BLM extends comment period on rule revision regulating fracking on public land (billingsgazette.com)
- Fracking is on the minds of David Kolb and MLive/Chronicle readers (mlive.com)
- How the Obama Administration Is Making Fracking on Public Lands Easier (alternet.org)
- Fracking The Amish (gas2.org)
- Fracking and Earthquakes – not in Texas (texasvox.org)
- Water giant ‘opens fracking talks’ (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)