News Feature | July 28, 2017

Trump Admin Pulls Back Obama Water-Quality Rule For Fracking

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

The Trump administration is working to peel back an Obama-era fracking regulation designed to protect water quality.

On July 24, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the Interior Department, “submitted a reversal to eliminate a policy that required companies to disclose the chemicals used for fracking on public and tribal lands. The disclosure is a precaution against polluting water sources,” Color Lines reported.

The Interior Department's notice about these developments read as follows, per the Washington Examiner: "The BLM is now proposing to rescind the 2015 final rule because we believe it is unnecessarily duplicative of state and some tribal regulations and imposes burdensome reporting requirements and other unjustified costs on the oil and gas industry. This proposed rule would return the affected sections of the Code of Federal Regulations to the language that existed immediately before the published effective date of the 2015 final rule."

The rule had stalled under court challenges after passing two years ago. It “never went into effect, languishing after challenges from states and the oil and gas industry,” Think Progress reported.

The public comment period for the rule change will last 60 days.

The extent of the threat fracking poses to drinking water is hotly debate. The U.S. EPA has concluded that fracking has contaminated drinking water in some circumstances, according to The New York Times.

President Trump has made positive statements about fracking during his campaign and presidency.

“I am going to lift the restrictions on American energy and allow this wealth to pour into our communities — including right here in Pennsylvania,” Trump told shale industry leaders during a campaign stop in Pittsburgh, PA, last year, per the Los Angeles Times. “The shale energy revolution will unleash massive wealth for American workers and families.”

To read more about hydraulic fracturing visit Water Online’s Produced Water Treatment Solutions Center.