The Bureau of Land Management has extended the public comment period on its proposal to revise hydraulic fracturing regulations on federal lands to Aug. 23.

The new proposal, published May 25, would modernize regulations and establish baseline environmental safeguards for a process — fracking — that is already used to drill 90 percent of wells on federal and Indian lands.

Fracking involves injecting pressurized water into rocks at fault lines to release natural gas for extraction. The BLM’s proposed rule changes would be the first update of the federal fracking regulations since 1983.{C}

Following the Department of the Interior’s public forum on hydraulic fracturing in November 2010, the BLM released its first proposed rules in May 2012.

During the comment period that followed, the agency received more than 177,000 public comments and feedback, prompting the BLM to withdraw its initial proposal.

Three primary components of the original proposal remain:
* Require operators to disclose chemicals used
* Verify that fluids used in the process are not contaminating groundwater
* Confirm operators have a water management plan for handling fluids that resurface.

To comment during this extended period:

— Mail: U.S. Department of Interior, Director (630), Bureau of Land Management, Mail Stop 2134 LM, 1849 C St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20240, Attention: 1004-AE26.

— Online: Follow the instructions for submitting comments at this website.

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