On May 16 the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced its latest fracking rules for shale drilling on federal lands, which were last revised in 1988. These draft rules completely fail to honor President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address, where he pledged to do more to combat climate change for the sake of our children and our future.
In response, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, issued the following statement.
“The Sierra Club is alarmed and disappointed by the fundamental inadequacy of the Bureau of Land Management’s new proposed fracking regulations. After reviewing the draft rules, we believe the administration is putting the American public’s health and well-being at risk, while continuing to give polluters a free ride. The draft BLM rules ignore the recommendations of the president’s own shale-gas advisory committee, which called for transparency, full public chemical disclosure, environmental safeguards, and pollution monitoring.
“Although no amount of regulation will make fracking acceptable, the proposed BLM rules fail even to take obvious steps to make it safer. This proposal does not require drillers to disclose all chemicals being used for fracking and continues to allow trade-secret exemptions for the oil-and-gas industry. There are no requirement for baseline water testing and no setback requirements to govern how close to homes and schools drilling can happen. The new rules also continue to allow the use of toxic diesel fuel for fracking, as well as open pits for storing wastewater — two practices that we know to be environmentally hazardous.
“If President Obama honestly wants to tackle climate change, then he must look for every opportunity to keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground and to double down on clean-energy solutions like wind, solar, and energy efficiency. The last thing we should be doing is opening up still more public land to drilling and fracking.”