Fracking the White House


The Department of Interior is expected to release new guidelines for fracking on public lands in the near future, which is making many in the industry a little nervous.

Fracking is the short-hand term for hydraulic fracturing, the process by which a blast of water, sand, and chemicals is used to tap into shale rock to extract natural gas. For years, the industry has been exempt from a number of federal laws, but the new Interior rules might impose some new restrictions, at least for fracking on public lands. The rules are expected to include disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking fluids, as well as well integrity and water management plans. Which his why some of the big players in the industry, like Exxon and Anadarko Petroleum, are working the White House on the rules, reports The Hill’s E2 Wire:

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Chairman Jim Hackett and other company officials met April 3 with Cass Sunstein, who heads the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Anadarko, according to a presentation provided to OMB, fears that the rules could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of annual delays for industry projects on public lands, and warns of “onerous” reporting requirements.

The presentation also cites concerns that Interior could deny fracking from occurring at wells that have already been drilled.

Since OIRA reviews and weighs in on proposed regulations, it’s often a favorite stopping place for those looking to influence the policy. Here’s the full list of who attended the April 3 Anadarko meeting. Several trade groups like the American Petroleum Institute and America’s Natural Gas Alliance had their own meeting with OMB on Feb. 29, and Exxon and its subsidiary XTO Energy had a separate meeting on March 22.

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