EPA Releases Draft Guidelines for Diesel Use in Fracking

May 15, 2012

The EPA has released draft underground injection control (UIC) program permitting-guidance for class II wells that use diesel fuels during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, activities.

EPA developed the draft guidance to clarify how companies can comply with a law passed by Congress in 2005, which exempted fracking operations from the requirement to obtain a UIC permit,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

The draft guidance outlines for EPA permit writers, where EPA is the permitting authority, requirements for diesel fuels used for hydraulic fracturing wells, technical recommendations for permitting those wells and a description of diesel fuels for EPA underground injection control permitting. The draft guidance describes diesel fuels for these purposes by reference to six chemical abstract services registry numbers. The agency is requesting input on this description.

While this guidance undergoes public notice and comment, decisions about permitting fracking 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of the specific injection activity and applicable statutes, regulations and case law and will not cite this draft guidance as a basis for decision.

Source: EPA