BLM Proposal to Reduce Risks to Ground Water from Oil and Gas Fracking

NRDC: “We Need Stronger Protections for Our Lands and Our Health”

WASHINGTON (May 4, 2012) –- The Bureau of Land Management today issued draft safeguards to reduce the risks to groundwater from hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of oil and gas wells.  These new safeguards, once finalized, will apply to leasing of federal oil and gas reserves beneath BLM land, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other property.

The proposal would require operators to better manage fracking waste, disclose the chemicals used during fracking, and strengthen the actual wells put into the ground.

The following is a statement from Amy Mall, senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“We need BLM to be a leader when it comes protecting our lands, water and ultimately our health from fracking pollution, yet several states already have stronger protections in place than what the agency proposed today. This is a critical first step, but so much more needs to be done.

“Oil and gas operations are expanding rapidly with new technologies and into new areas, including closer and closer to where families live and children go to school, but federal safeguards have not caught up. And industry does not inspire confidence when it balks at the notion of sharing chemical ingredients upfront. Communities shouldn’t have to wait for that information until after the deed is done.”

“We hope the agency will strengthen this proposal before it becomes final.”

To read more about today’s announcement from BLM, see Amy Mall’s blog at

Today’s action marks the second step from the Obama administration to help manage the dangers associated with fracking.  Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized the first-ever limits on dangerous air pollution produced during the fracking process on federal and private lands.  Similar to today’s draft proposal, the EPA addressed some major concerns but fell short of what’s necessary to address critical environmental and health problem such as limiting emissions of methane, a potent climate change pollutant and other dangerous air pollutants.

David Doniger, policy director of NRDC’s climate and clean air has a blog post on the EPA final safeguards here: