Broder reports industry lobbyists and several major oil and gas companies have been meeting at the White House since the original regulation was proposed in February "to address industry concerns about overlapping state regulations and the cost of compliance." The Interior Department wanted to address landowners' concerns about groundwater pollution, Broder reports. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the revised rule was part of the federal government's overall energy strategy.
The rule would affect drilling operations on the 700 million acres of public land maintained by the Bureau of Land Management, and 56 million acres of Native American lands. The agency estimates that 90 percent of the 3,400 wells drilled each year on public and Indian lands are drilled using fracking. The rule also broadens the definition of waters to be protected during drilling from fresh waters to usable waters. (Read more)