The federal government unveiled the first safety mandates for fracking operations on federal and Indian lands on Friday.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial process that involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into a well to extract oil or gas. Environmentalists say fracking poses health risks. The new rule will take effect in 90 days, according to the Bureau of Land Management.
"Many of the regulations on the books today haven't kept pace with advances in technology," U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said on a media conference call.
The plan has several key components: provisions for ensuring groundwater protection though well integrity standards, increased transparency by requiring companies to publicly disclose chemicals they use, higher storage standards, and requiring companies submit more detailed information on preexisting wells.
"Most Americans would call them common sense," Jewell said on the call of the new rules, which were developed over a four-year process and received more than 1.5 million public comments.
Although these new rules will not be applicable to fracking operations on private or state-owned land, the guidelines create a baseline set of safety standards, officials said on the call.