FracFocus Announces Planned Improvements to Chemical Reporting Registry. As part of their commitment to make data available to the public, the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission announced plans to make changes to the FracFocus hydraulic fracturing chemical registry to improve the quality, transparency and accessibility of reported information. Among other changes, the planned improvements include a revised reporting format that would allow companies to enhance reporting of chemical names separately from their specific fracturing fluid product. FracFocus expects the improvements will allow for increased reporting to the public, while still allowing protection of trade secrets. These and other planned changes may expand the use of FracFocus as the reporting tool approved by state governments that currently require companies to report the contents of fracturing fluids. The Bureau of Land Management has also proposed to use FracFocus as a reporting tool in its proposed revisions to regulations governing oil and gas development on federal lands.
Colorado: Hydraulic Fracturing Task Force Recommends Nine Legislative and Regulatory Policy Changes to Governor. Colorado’s oil and gas task force approved nine recommendations for improving oil and gas development. The recommendations include provisions to incorporate oil and gas development into comprehensive local planning processes, to increase the role of local government liaisons in the process of issuing drilling permits, to increase Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff and inspectors, to conduct health studies, to develop an oil and gas information clearinghouse and to reduce truck traffic on public roads and streets. Other recommendations that did not receive the required support — including a proposal to give decision-making authority over oil and gas development to local governments — will be included in a minority report to Gov. Hickenlooper. The recommendations are non-binding and require legislative or regulatory action to be implemented.
California: Environmental Groups Urge Governor to Impose Emergency Order Banning Hydraulic Fracturing. On February 26, 2015, a group of environmental organizations petitioned California Gov. Jerry Brown to use his emergency powers to stop hydraulic fracturing and acid well stimulation in the state. The petition claims the Department of Conservation’s recently issued hydraulic fracturing regulations are insufficient to protect against risks to groundwater and surface water from drilling activities, as well as disposal of drilling wastewater. The regulations are currently scheduled to take effect in July of this year. The petition asks the governor to declare a state of emergency and ban hydraulic fracturing until a comprehensive review of health and environmental impacts is conducted. By law, the governor has thirty days to respond to the petition.
European Union: Survey Shows Diversity in Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations Among Member States; EU to Consider Need for Hydraulic Fracturing Law. A recent survey of European Union (EU) member states showed significant diversity among members in the nature and scope of hydraulic fracturing regulations. Overall, a majority of EU members have no plans to authorize hydraulic fracturing while six states — Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom — have issued or are considering issuing licenses for oil and gas development using hydraulic fracturing. Six additional countries indicated that they may consider granting such licenses in the future. The EU intends to use the results of this survey to assess whether to propose uniform requirements that would govern the use of hydraulic fracturing throughout the EU. To date, the EU has only issued non-binding guidance for member states that license hydraulic fracturing activities.
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