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Fulbright & Jaworski LLP Fracking Blog: Federal vs. State Regulation

On September 10, 2012, members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Natural Resources wrote to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, requesting that the Bureau of Land Management's proposed regulations governing hydraulic fracturing on federal land be made stronger.

The group wants the proposed regulations strengthened:

  1. to require the public disclosure of the pre- and post-fracturing chemicals and additives;
  2. to re-assess the use of FracFocus as the system for the public disclosure of chemicals and to consider a government-run system that would be subject to open records laws and that would allow the information to be published in an open, searchable format;
  3. to prevent the use of open-air pits to store wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations;
  4. to set up strict guidelines for variances or waivers from the regulations; and
  5. to include rules relating to set-backs in order to control air pollution.

Read the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Natural Resources letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Within one day of this letter, Governor Matt Mead of Wyoming expressed his opposing opinion, stating that federal hydraulic fracturing rules are unnecessary because the state regulations are already stronger.  

For example, current Wyoming state regulations require the pre-fracturing disclosure of all chemical identities and concentrations of each additive used in the hydraulic fracturing process.

This article was prepared by Barclay R. Nicholson ( or 713 651 3662) from Fulbright's Energy Practice

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