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Delayed Federal Fracking Rules Affect Wells On Tribal Land In Oklahoma

A water line for hydraulic fracturing crosses an oil-field access road in Woods County, Okla.
Joe Wertz
StateImpact Oklahoma

A federal judge in Wyoming this week delayed the start of new rules for fracking on federal lands, issuing a temporary stay to give the federal government more time to explain how it developed the rule, The Hill and Casper Star-Tribune report.

The Hill’s Timothy Cama says the ruling is a setback for the Obama administration’s “first major attempt” to regulate fracking. The new, “long-anticipated” rules apply only to oil and gas operations on federal and tribal land, which comprises less than two percent of the land in Oklahoma, but could affect some Oklahoma wells, The Oklahoman‘s Adam Wilmoth reports:

The Bureau of Indian Affairs oversees energy production in Osage County in consultation with the Osage Nation. Still, the rules would affect about 1,300 wells in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, said Steve Tryon, Oklahoma field office manager for the Bureau of Land Management. Tryon said his office has been told to continue operating under the old rules for now.

Wilmoth on the new rules, which the federal government says are in line with the energy industry’s best practices:

The proposed rules would create new requirements on the cement used as a barrier between the wellbore and water zones and require the disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process on the FracFocus website. The rules also would bar companies from using open pits for temporary wastewater storage. Twenty states, including Oklahoma, already use the FracFocus website for frack fluid disclosures for wells on private and state land. The site is managed by the Oklahoma City-based Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Joe was a founding reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma (2011-2019) covering the intersection of economic policy, energy and environment, and the residents of the state. He previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly arts and entertainment correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla. and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.
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