Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations

The best-suited regulators of hydraulic fracturing are the states, which are the source of the common law of the domestic oil and gas industry because of their unique position and their collective expertise on matters concerning the industry.  States have adopted comprehensive laws and regulations to provide for safe operations and to protect the nation's drinking water sources, and have trained personnel to effectively regulate oil and gas exploration and production. 

Hydraulic fracturing is currently, and has been for decades, a common operation used in exploration and production by the oil and gas industry in all gas producing states.  Because the unique position of the states and their collective expertise on matters concerning the oil and gas industry, regulation of hydraulic fracturing should remain the responsibility of he States.  The states have as much of a vested interest in the protection of groundwater as the federal government and as such, will continue to regulate the processeffectively and efficiently, taking into account the particulars of the geology and hydrology within their boundaries.   There is not a "one-size fits all" approach to effective regulation. Links to individual state regulations can be found on the Regulatory Streamlining State Progress Map. Visit the Hydraulic Fracturing State Progress Map to view individual state statistics about Hydraulic Fracturing.

The IOGCC archives regulations in order to provide legislative models, assist with preparation of legislative drafts and to facilitate precedent setting.

Individual Province/Territory Actions

Saskatchewan issues Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids and Propping Agents Containment and Disposal Guidelines (2000)

Information Guideline GL 2000-01, Saskatchewan Hydraulic Fluids and Propping Agents Containment and Disposal Guidelines, Saskatchewan Energy and Resources, October 1, 2000. Energy and Resources firmly believes that frac fluids and sands must be managed to protect the environment from adverse impacts.  In this regard, such requirements as selecting environmentally friendly additives, using no-leak containment devices, minimizing the volume of frac fluids used, re-using and recycling sands and selecting the best disposal option should be an integral part of well stimulation programs.

British Columbia passes Oil and Gas Activities Act and promulgates regulations; issues water usage report (2008 - 2010)

Oil and Gas Activities Act (OGAA), BC Oil and Gas Commission, (passed 2008, amended 2010, rulemaking effective 10/04/2010).  Implemented in Fall 2010, the OGAA is a consolidation of the Oil and Gas Commission Act, the Pipeline Act and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act. I

Alberta issues directive to restrict shallow fracturing operations; Issues bulletins and information (2009 - 2010)

Directive 027, Shallow Fracturing Operations-Restricted Operations, Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), Revised August 14, 2009. The ERCB initially imposed shallow fracturing controls on January 31, 2006 with the issuance of Directive 027: Shallow Fracturing Operations--Interim Controls, Restricted Operations, and Technical Review. Additional and amended requirements were issued in 2009 based on the recommendations of the "Multi-Stakeholder Shallow Fracturing Steering Committee,"  formed by the ERCB.

Individual State Regulatory Actions

Texas regulations protect surface and groundwater

Texas Railroad Commission (RRC). The RRC’s regulations related to oil and gas well construction and water protection, while not specifically directed at hydraulic fracturing, effectively protect surface and ground water.  

Wyoming promulgates new rules (2010)

Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) Rules and Regulations, August 2010. On August 16, 2010, by his signature, Governor Dave Freudenthal approved new rules, which cover a variety of drilling practices including hydraulic fracturing. Operators must now provide the names of chemical additives and the Chemical Abstracts Service number, compound type, and compound concentrations or rates proposed to be mixed and injected as part of the hydraulic fracturing process.

Oklahoma's new rule cross-references hydraulic fracturing regulations (2010)

OAC 165:10-3-10(b) Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), July 11, 2010. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission regulates hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells as a well completion operation. The Commission’s environmental protection rules address the various aspects of this well completion practice, and compliance with the rules is assured through well-established inspection, reporting, investigation, and enforcement mechanisms.

Ohio undergoes major revision of rules; incorporates hydraulic fracturing

SB 165, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mineral Resources Management, Oil and Gas, June 30, 2010. On March 31, 2010, Governor Ted Strickland signed Substitute SB 165, the most major revision to Ohio oil and gas law in 25 years. Many significant changes were implemented as a result of passage of this new legislation, which went into effect on June 30, 2010.

Louisiana rules help conserve freshwater and minimize waste; conducts regulatory review (2010)

LAC 43:XIX.313.J. Pit Closure Techniques and Onsite Disposal of E and P Waste, Louisiana Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR), Office of Conservation, June 2010. To help conserve freshwater aquifer resources and minimize waste, rules to allow the limited use of exploration and production waste in hydraulic fracturing operations conducted on the Haynesville Shale formation were promulgated on June 20, 2010. Memorandum WH-1: Reporting

Memorandum WH-1, Requirements for Water Use in E&P Operations, Louisiana DNR, September 2009. Requires the reporting of water source and associated volumes for hydraulic fracturing operations.

Michigan imposes special permit conditions for wells that are to be hydraulically fractured (2010)

Surface Casing Rules/Special Permit Conditions 181, 516 and 12, Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources and Environment, Office of Geological Survey (Groundwork updated October 2010). Michigan's first line of defense in protecting groundwater is adequate surface casing.  This protects fresh water zones from contamination by migrating gas or fluids.  Our general rules require surface casing to be set (1) at least 100 feet below the base of the glacial deposits, (2) into competent bedrock, and (3) at least 100 feet below all fresh water strata.  Surface casing must be sealed by circulating cement to the ground surface.   In addition, Michigan imposes special permit conditions on wells that are to be hydraulically fractured.

Arkansas Issues Proposed Rule Changes for Commentary (October 2010)

Proposed Rule Change, Commission Rule B-19, Arkansas Oil & Gas Commission (AOGC) (October 2010). The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission issued proposed amendments to Commission Rule B-19 "Requirements for Well Completion Utilizing Fracture Stimulation for commentary.

NY DEC Proposes New Safety Measures, Mitigation Strategies to Govern Potential Marcellus Shale Drilling (Sept 2009)

Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program Well Permit Issuance for Horizontal Drilling And High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing to Develop the Marcellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability Gas Reservoirs, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), October 5, 2009. The SGEIS was issued for public comment on September 30, 2009 and addresses the range of potential impacts of shale gas development using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing and outlines safety measures, protection standards and mitigation strategies that operators would have to follow to obtain permits. Natural gas drilling presents economic development and job creation opportunities, and can help achieve state energy policy goals. As there are also potential environmental impacts, Governor David A. Paterson directed DEC to prepare the SGEIS. The public comment period is now over  and the DEC is reviewing the many comments received.