EPA has released a revised permitting guidance for the underground injection control (UIC) program. The guidance is for for wells that use diesel fuels during hydraulic fracturing activities. It clarifies how companies can comply with a law passed by Congress in 2005, which requires hydraulic fracturing operations in which diesel fuels are used as a fracturing fluid, to obtain a UIC permit.
EPA has also released an interpretive memorandum, which “clarifies that class II UIC requirements apply to hydraulic fracturing activities using diesel fuels, and defines the statutory term diesel fuel by reference to five chemical abstract services registry numbers.”
According to the EPA, the guidance is specifically meant for hydraulic fracturing cases where diesel fuels are used, but some of the practices that it recommends are “consistent with best practices for hydraulic fracturing in general, including those found in state regulations and model guidelines for hydraulic fracturing developed by industry and stakeholders.” Therefore, state and tribal authorities that are responsible for updating regulations and issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing may find the guidance useful.
One of EPA’s initiatives regarding hydraulic fracturing, given that these energy sources offer “important economic, energy security, and environmental benefits,” is to work with states and other stakeholders to develop America’s oil and natural gas resources responsibly. Responsible development of these resources will “help ensure that extraction of these resources does not come at the expense of public health and the environment.” EPA sees this diesel guidance as an initiative to promote responsible development of these resources given that it provides “regulatory clarity with respect to existing laws and [uses] existing authorities where appropriate to enhance public health and environmental safeguards.”
The guidance is available here.
The EPA news release is available here.