EPA revises permitting for using diesel in hydraulic fracturing - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

EPA revises permitting for using diesel in hydraulic fracturing

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Feb. 11 released revised underground injection control program permitting guidance for wells that use diesel fuels during hydraulic fracturing activities.

EPA developed the guidance to clarify how companies can comply with a law passed by Congress in 2005, which exempted hydraulic fracturing operations from the requirement to obtain a UIC permit, except in cases where diesel fuel is used as a fracturing fluid.

EPA is issuing the change alongside an interpretive memorandum, to clarify 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.

The guidance outlines for EPA permit writers, where EPA is the permitting authority, existing class II requirements for diesel fuels used for hydraulic fracturing wells, and technical recommendations for permitting those wells consistently with the requirements. Decisions about permitting hydraulic fracturing operations that use diesel fuels will be made on a case-by-case basis, considering the facts and circumstances of the specific injection activity and applicable statutes, regulations and case law, and will not cite this guidance as a basis for decision.

The recommended practices were developed specifically for hydraulic fracturing where diesel fuels are used, but many of the recommended practices are consistent with best practices for hydraulic fracturing in general, according to the EPA, including those found in state regulations and model guidelines for hydraulic fracturing developed by industry and stakeholders.

EPA released a draft of the guidance in May 2012 and had a 105-day public comment period to gain input. To read the guidance, visit: http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/class2/hydraulicfracturing/hydraulic-fracturing.cfm