Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Image courtesy of Department of the Interior/Flickr.

The Department of Interior (DOI) unveiled new fracking rules Friday that requires drillers to disclose more information about wells and project sites.

The new rules require the validation of well integrity and “strong” cement barriers between the wellbore and water zones the wellbore passes through and also creates higher standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids.

Drillers will now have to provide the Bureau of Land Management with more detailed information about wells and drilling sites to lower the risk of cross-well contamination.

The new rules also call for upstreams to publicly disclose chemicals used during fracking to the Bureau of Land Management through the FracFocus website within 30 days of completing fracturing operations.

Key components of the rules will take effect in 90 days.

The new rules only applies to development on public and tribal lands.

States and tribes will be allowed to request variances from provisions that duplicate tougher local regulations already on the books.

“This updated and strengthened rule provides a framework of safeguards and disclosure protocols that will allow for the continued responsible development of our federal oil and gas resources,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said.

The Bureau of Land Management estimates the new rule will cost less than one-fourth of 1 percent of the cost of drilling a well, based on the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s average per well cost of $5.4 million.

There are more than 100,000 oil and gas wells on federally managed lands with over 90 percent of those wells using hydraulic fracturing, the DOI said.

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, fired back at the new rule, warning that it could push drilling costs up and endanger job creation.

“A duplicative layer of new federal regulation is unnecessary, and we urge the BLM to work carefully with the states to minimize costs and delays created by the new rule to ensure that public lands can still be a source of job creation and economic growth,” API director of upstream and industry operations Erik Milito said.


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