The Slatest

Obama Issues Major Regulations of Fracking (but Only Fracking on Public Land)

A man in Texas washes a truck used to carry sand for fracking.

Spencer Platt/Getty

The Obama administration has issued the “first major regulations” of fracking, the increasingly common and controversial fossil fuel extraction process, though the rules apply only to the small portion of fracking that takes place on land owned by the federal government or Native American tribes. From the New York Times:

The regulations, which are to take effect in 90 days, will allow government workers to inspect and validate the safety and integrity of the cement barriers that line fracking wells. They will require companies to publicly disclose the chemicals used in the fracturing process within 30 days of completing fracking operations.

The rules will also set safety standards for how companies can store used fracking chemicals around well sites, and will require companies to submit detailed information on well geology to the Bureau of Land Management, a part of the Interior Department.

Politico breaks down the D.C. dynamics involved in the announcement, which are about what you’d expect: Republicans think the regulations are too intrusive, environmentalists are worried they don’t go far enough, and the administration thinks they’ve “struck the right balance.”

One notable nugget from Politico’s piece: The EPA’s “long-postponed study of the possible drinking water effects of fracking” is “set for release within the next few months, an agency official said.”