Department of Interior
A 90 day comment period for a Bureau of Land Management proposed rule governing hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has come to a close. The following statement is from Lois Epstein of The Wilderness Society, who recently testified before the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources against a bill undermining BLM’s hydraulic fracturing rule.
“The Wilderness Society has a strong interest in protecting areas managed by the BLM from the adverse effects of drilling. The BLM has a responsibility to assure safe drilling operations on public lands—drilling has to be done in the right places with the right practices. And some places are simply too wild to drill and must be kept off limits to drilling.
“The Wilderness Society appreciates BLM's efforts to set nationwide baseline requirements for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands.
“There are solid technical reasons for BLM to implement a more robust rule which fully addresses issues such as:
- pre-fracturing disclosure of chemicals used, including essentially eliminating trade secret provisions;
- ensuring the integrity of each and every well; and
- proper storage and disposal of waste fracturing fluids and other wastewaters .
“The increase in the use of hydraulic fracturing means that there needs to be meaningful rules governing its use on federal lands. The current draft rules from the BLM are a good start, but should be strengthened in order to guarantee the highest possible protections for the public and nearby wildlands.”
Lois Epstein is the Arctic Program Director for The Wilderness Society. She is a licensed engineer and has served on several federal advisory committees, including 12 years on a committee focusing on oil pipeline safety. She testified on the BLM hydraulic fracturing rule before the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on July 25, 2013.
Lois currently serves on the Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.