Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) announced that it will publish a final rule to rescind a 2015 regulation requiring companies to disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing.
Decried by both the BLM and oil and gas trade associations as costly and duplicative of existing regulations, the repeal of this rule marks the final nail in the coffin for a legal battle that began over two years ago.
When the rule was originally proposed in 2015, it drew broad opposition from trade associations like the Independent Petroleum Association of America (“IPAA”), and state and local governments like Colorado, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and the Ute Indian Tribe. Accordingly, the announcement of the rule’s final repeal today is seen by many as a major victory for government efficiency and spending.
As the BLM put it, “all 32 of the 32 states with federal oil and gas leases have regulations that address hydraulic fracturing,” and the number of “companies [that] are using state regulatory agencies and/or databases such as FracFocus to disclose the chemical content of hydraulic fracturing fluids” is increasing. Thus, rescinding this federal rule seems to be a common sense way to achieve the goal of “reduc[ing] the costs of regulatory compliance.”
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