The Department of the Interior Thursday announced the release of an updated draft proposal that would establish common sense safety standards for hydraulic fracturing on public and Indian lands. Following the release of an initial draft proposal in 2012, Interior received extensive feedback, including over 177,000 public comments that helped inform the updated draft proposal.

Approximately 90 percent of wells drilled on Federal and Indian lands use hydraulic fracturing, but the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) current regulations governing hydraulic fracturing operations on public lands are more than 30 years old and were not written to address modern hydraulic fracturing activities.

The revised proposed rule will modernize BLM’s management of hydraulic fracturing operations, and help to establish baseline environmental safeguards for these operations across all public and Indian lands. The porposal took into account technologies already in use by companies to protect water resources, and existing methods for improving transparency through disclosure of the chemicals used in fracturing fluids.

Once comments on the updated draft have been collected and analyzed, the BLM expects to issue a final rule that will ensure that operators apply proven cost-effective safety and environmental protection processes when engaging in hydraulic fracturing on public and Indian lands.