President Obama Issues Executive Order Related to Fracking

In a significant development, President Obama released an executive order that coordinates the on-going activities of numerous federal agencies related to fracking.  The neutrally written order cites to the need to develop natural gas while making such development “safe, responsible, and efficient.”   As has been reported here, various federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Interior, and  General Accountability Office, have been quietly employing comprehensive fracking related studies while at the same time contemplating potential federal regulations related to fracking on public lands.  However, until the issuance of the executive order, the President and the relevant federal agencies have essentially left most regulatory oversight of fracking on private lands to the states.

The order establishes an “interagency working group” that will, among other things, “engage in long-term planning” related to fracking, while promoting communication with “stakeholders.”
At this juncture, it is unclear whether the federal government intends to more aggressively assert itself into the hydraulic fracking regulatory process.  We shall continue to monitor the developments flowing from this executive order.

Executive Order — Supporting Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources

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