[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 29 (Wednesday, February 12, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 8451-8452]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02929]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-OW-2011-1013; FRL-9904-51-OW]


Notice of Availability of EPA Documents Regarding Implementation 
of the Safe Drinking Water Act's Underground Injection Control Program 
Existing Requirements for Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Activities 
Using Diesel Fuels

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing an 
interpretive memorandum and technical recommendations for implementing 
the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program Class II requirements 
under the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended by the Energy Policy Act 
in 2005, for oil and gas hydraulic fracturing (HF) activities using 
diesel fuels. The EPA is providing these documents to alleviate 
uncertainty regarding the applicability of UIC Class II permitting 
requirements and the agency's interpretation of the term ``diesel 
fuels'' in the statute. A key component of our nation's energy future 
is the safe, responsible development of oil and gas resources. If 
produced responsibly, expanded use of natural gas in lieu of other 
fossil fuels has the potential to improve air quality, stabilize energy 
prices, and provide greater certainty about future energy reserves.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ronald Bergman, Underground Injection 
Control Program, Drinking Water Protection Division, Office of Ground 
Water and Drinking Water (MC-4606M), Environmental Protection Agency, 
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 
(202) 564-3823; email address: bergman.ronald@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General Information

    Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing 
notice of the release of an interpretive memorandum and technical 
recommendations for EPA Regions and State Directors responsible for 
implementing the Underground Injection Control Program Class II 
requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended by the 
Energy Policy Act in 2005, for oil and gas hydraulic fracturing (HF) 
activities using diesel fuels. In the 2005 Energy Policy Act, Congress 
excluded HF from UIC regulation, except where ``diesel fuels'' are used 
in fracturing fluids or propping agents. The technical recommendations 
have been developed for EPA Regional Offices to consider in applying 
existing Class II UIC Program regulations when permitting the use of 
diesel fuels for HF. EPA permit writers have the discretion to consider 
alternative best practices that are consistent with statutory and 
regulatory requirements. The EPA also anticipates that owners and 
operators may find the technical recommendations useful in 
understanding what factors EPA permit writers may consider in issuing 
permits for HF operations using diesel fuels. These guidelines are 
consistent with best practices for hydraulic fracturing in general, 
including those found in state regulations as well as model guidelines 
and voluntary standards developed by industry and stakeholders. Thus, 
States and Tribes responsible for issuing permits and/or updating 
regulations may find the recommendations useful in improving the 
protection of underground sources of drinking water and public health 
wherever hydraulic fracturing is practiced. The EPA is committed to 
working with co-regulators and other stakeholders to ensure that oil 
and shale gas development occurs safely and responsibly and to 
encourage use of best practices, including voluntary use of greener 
alternatives in HF fluids generally.
    Given the significant public interest in the issue, EPA solicited 
comment from local, State, and Federal agencies, Tribes, and the public 
via a Federal Register (FR) notice published on May 10, 2012 (77 FR 
27451). The docket number for this action is EPA-HQ-OW-

[[Page 8452]]

2011-1013. The comment period closed on August 23, 2012, after allowing 
for an extension from 60 days to 105 days, as requested by 
stakeholders, to give additional time to provide input. EPA considered 
information submitted by these entities, as well as information 
obtained from stakeholder outreach meetings and webinars held during 
the open comment period, in developing the documents released today.

II. How can I get copies of Permitting Guidance for Oil and Gas 
Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel Fuels, and other related 
information?

    A. Docket. The EPA has established a docket for this document under 
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-1013. The public docket consists of the 
documents specifically referenced in this notice, any public comments 
received and other information related to this notice. Publicly 
available docket materials are available either electronically through 
www.regulations.gov or in hard copy in the EPA Docket Center, (EPA/DC) 
EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The 
EPA Docket Center Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 
p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone 
number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone 
number for the Water Docket is (202) 566-2426.
    B. Electronic Access. You may access this Federal Register document 
electronically through the EPA Internet by either visiting the 
Underground Injection Control Program's Hydraulic Fracturing and the 
Safe Drinking Water Act Web site, http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/class2/hydraulicfracturing/hydraulic-fracturing.cfm at 
or http://www.regulations.gov.

    Dated: February 5, 2014.
Peter C. Grevatt,
Director, Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water.
[FR Doc. 2014-02929 Filed 2-11-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P