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Obama proposes public land fracking rules

Keywords: Tags  fracking, hydraulic fracturing, Obama, Bureau of Land Management, Interior Department, catherine ngai

NEW YORK — The Obama administration released draft rules Friday that would require companies to publicly disclose what chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing operations on public lands.

Currently, operators are not required to disclose the chemicals they use on federal land, where approximately 90 percent of the wells drilled use hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," techniques. The proposed rules would require public disclosure of chemicals used after fracturing operations have been completed.

The draft rules, developed by the Bureau of Land Management, also would require operators to develop plans for managing flowback waters and to verify that their wells meet construction standards.

"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," Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement. "The proposed rules will modernize our management of well stimulation activities—including hydraulic fracturing—to make sure that fracturing operations conducted on public and Indian lands follow common-sense industry best practices."

There will be a 60-day public comment period once the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register.

Many in the steel industry call shale gas a "game-changer," but have stressed that regulations on fracking may cause opposition to the development of affordable energy.

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