By Jessica Kershaw
Special to The SUN
Following a robust and transparent public process that included more than 1.5 million public comments, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell released final standards that will support safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands. The standards will improve safety and help protect groundwater by updating requirements for well-bore integrity, wastewater disposal and public disclosure of chemicals.
There are more than 100,000 oil and gas wells on federally managed lands. Of wells currently being drilled, over 90 percent use hydraulic fracturing. The rule applies only to development on public and tribal lands and includes a process so that states and tribes may request variances from provisions for which they have an equal or more protective regulation in place. This will avoid duplication while enabling the development of more protective standards by state and tribal governments.
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