Trump Moves to Kill Rules for Fracking on Public Lands

The Obama-era regulations were focused on protecting water supplies.
A fracking rig in Colorado
Credit: iStock

The Obama-era regulations were focused on protecting water supplies.

Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officially proposed doing away with rules that would protect water supplies and communities from fracking on federal lands. Specifically, the regulations required oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals used in their operations; to manage fracking fluids that flow to the surface in an environmentally responsible way; and to properly construct wells to protect surrounding water supplies.

“This administration is sacrificing our public lands and neighboring communities to the oil and gas industry,” said Amy Mall, a senior policy analyst at NRDC’s Land & Wildlife program. “While these rules still fall far short of what’s needed to reduce impacts from fracking, they would have provided some much-needed steps to better safeguard drinking water supplies, public health, and the environment.”

The Obama administration finalized the safeguards in 2015, but challenges to the rules have been holding them up in court ever since. 

“The BLM itself has said the previous rules didn’t address the real threats from technologies like fracking—yet now the agency is returning to them,” Mall said. “This is just one more example of where this administration’s loyalties lie: with industry and polluters, not the people.”


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