Fri May 4, 2012

Proposed Fracking Rule Embraced by Hickenlooper

Governor John Hickenlooper is praising a proposal by the Obama Administration that would require oil and gas companies drilling on federal lands to disclose the chemicals they use in the process known as hydraulic fracturing.

The US Department of Interior issued its draft rule Friday. A similar regulation is already in effect in Colorado.

"Our set of rules are going to almost exactly mimic the federal rules which is the way it should be," Hickenlooper said, during an interview Friday.

Industry groups argue fracking and the public disclosure issue should be left up to the states to regulate, and they worry a federal mandate will slow down oil and gas development on public lands. But the governor said his initial read on the draft rule is in line with the state’s mission to promote drilling and environmental protection.

"Perhaps it's duplicative, and maybe there's a way that we can work around that and have one set of papers," Hickenlooper told KUNC.

But the Democrat said it's premature to say whether or not that will happen for companies in Colorado. Hickenlooper said the issue could get worked out during the public comment period for the draft rule.

Once it's formally published in the federal register, the public will have 60 days to weigh in.