STATEMENT: John Podesta on DOI’s Proposed Rule for Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands

Washington, D.C. — Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today proposed updated rules to apply to hydraulic fracturing occurring on public lands, and John Podesta, Chair and Counselor at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

Natural gas is a key component to establishing a clean energy future in the United States, but the public must be confident that it is done safely and responsibly, and the proposed rule released today by the Department of the Interior misses the mark.

DOI should be commended for updating rules to reflect modern energy development, especially those that strengthen the Bureau of Land Management’s role in well oversight. The industry requirement, however, to disclose fracking chemicals only after drilling has occurred denies the public the information necessary to assuage public health concerns. DOI has the opportunity and obligation to model best practices for development of this natural resource on public lands. Disclosure after the fact not only jeopardizes public health but also effectively cuts the public out of discussions that affect their communities.

Also, in the interest of transparency, the disclosure of chemicals must be available on a public, government website. The draft rule proposes using an industry website to share information with the public, though this falls below standards set by many state governments who already have activated websites to provide this information to the public. As with the Toxic Release Inventory, this responsibility to protect all citizens who may be affected falls on the government, and it should not rely on industry to do so on its own.

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