Tighter Regulations Amid the Fracking Fray: The Bureau of Land Management’s proposals could affect production on 700 million acres of land


The federal government is poised to tighten regulation of hydraulic fracturing — the drilling method behind the boom in U.S. natural gas production — by proposing to revise rules affecting 700 million acres of federal and Indian mineral lands.

After its initial proposal in May 2012 brought criticism from all sides, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) revised its proposal and sought public comment, which ended in August of this year. (The bureau’s existing rules were established in 1982, prior to the current boom in hydraulic fracturing.) Opponents, including some state regulators, argue that the new regulations will set up a burdensome dual system for approving drilling operations.

Originally published in The National Law Journal on November 4, 2013.

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