Obama Again Proposes Big SRF Cuts

April 2014, Vol. 69 No. 4

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appeared to essentially split the difference between positions held by industry and environmentalists with regard to use of diesel fuel in fracking. The agency issued final guidelines to state and federal officials who administer the underground injection control (UIC) program under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Those guidelines give the officials what appear to be considerable flexibility in the specifics of the permits they issue for fracking with diesel fuels.

Diesel fuel is rarely used in hydraulic fracturing (HF). An EPA analysis posted in 2012 on the chemical disclosure registry website FracFocus found that diesel fuels appeared in fewer than two percent of the wells.

Environmental groups had pressed the agency to ban the use of diesel fuels. The American Petroleum Institute (API) argued there was no justification for requiring permits in the first place. An API spokesman said the group was studying the guidelines and had no comment. Lee O. Fuller, vice president of Government Relations, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), says the guidelines really only apply to five chemicals, only one of which, kerosene, is still used in fracturing, and then only sporadically.