3Center for American Progress | New Oil and Gas Requirements a Good Start but Could Be Better
Te Bureau o Land Managemen’s proposed rules would require oil and gas opera-ors o disclose he chemicals hey use, impose a range o requiremens on esing heinegriy o heir well consrucion so gas and chemicals don’ migrae ino underground waer supplies, and keep beter rack o fowback wasewaer. Bu here are gaps in heproposed rules, including:
Te disclosure o racking fuid chemicals would come only aer he racuring is com-pleed. Ta would preven landowners rom doing baseline esing o heir domesic waer wells ahead o ime or chemicals ha are o be used in he racuring operaion,inormaion ha could be used o help deermine i here’s a link beween waer con-aminaion and he rack job.
Operaors mus repor o he Bureau o Land Managemen how hey plan o manageand dispose o fowback liquids. Bu hey are given he opion o soring fowback liq-uids in eiher enclosed anks or open, hough lined, pis. Soring hose liquids in piscan more easily lead o spills and conaminaion o waer and soils.
While he Bureau o Land Managemen requires esing o well inegriy, i has nooulined any updaed design and consrucion requiremens. Addiionally, he Whie House sen a signal las week ha i will be doing more oaccommodae he oil and gas indusry beore he rules are nalized. Heaher Zichal, hepresiden’s op energy and climae advisor, said he commen period on he proposedrules will be exended “in response o concerns we have heard rom indusry.”
EPA’s oil and gas air pollution rules
On he heels o a consen decree in a lawsui brough by environmenal groups, he EPA in April unveiled new regulaions o cu air polluion semming rom oil and gas opera-ions, including he rs-ever ederal air sandards governing gas wells ha are hydrauli-cally racured. Wih nearly 13,000 gas wells being racured or reracured each year in he UniedSaes, he indusry is a major source o air polluion, producing large quaniies o vola-ile organic compounds, or VOCs, ha conribue o smog, oxic chemicals like ben-zene, and mehane—he main consiuen o naural gas—a greenhouse gas more han20 imes as poen as carbon dioxide. Te EPA esimaes ha he oil and gas indusry isresponsible or almos 40 percen o all mehane emissions in he Unied Saes.Much o his air polluion comes immediaely aer racking is compleed and beore pro-ducion is underway, as fowback brings fuids, waer, and gas o he surace.