BLM Extends Comment Period for Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

Bennet, Colleagues Requested Extension to Allow for More Feedback

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today welcomed the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) 60-day extension of the public comment period on its proposed rule for hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘fracking.’ The extension follows a request from Bennet and Senators Mark Udall (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) to allow for a diverse group of stakeholders enough time to submit their feedback.

The comment period deadline is now August 23, 2013.

“All stakeholders with perspectives on hydraulic fracturing deserve to have their concerns and suggestions considered as BLM moves forward with this rule,” Bennet said. “Colorado enjoys an abundance of natural resources that help serve our energy needs, and they must be developed in a way that is safe for Colorado families and the environment. This extension will give people ample time to have their voices heard.”

In a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the senators wrote, “As you know, this rule has garnered significant attention from a diversity of stakeholders in our home states. It is our understanding that your agency received over 170,000 public comments on the original proposed rule. With the substantial changes to the proposed rule included in the current draft, we believe that stakeholders will need additional time for full consideration.”

According to the BLM, an updated draft proposal maintains the three main components of the initial proposal: requiring operators to disclose the chemicals they use in fracturing activities on public lands; improving assurances of well-bore integrity to verify that fluids used during fracturing operations are not contaminating groundwater; and confirming that oil and gas operators have a water management plan in place for handling fluids that flow back to the surface.