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National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations Update

National Park Service Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations:  On November 4, 2016, the National Park Service (“NPS”) issued final amendments to its oil and gas regulations that include well stimulation disclosure requirements.  The disclosure requirements mirror the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requirements, including the trade secret protection provisions that require operators to make trade secret claims.  The NPS regulations apply to all well stimulation activities, including hydraulic fracturing.  The term “well stimulation” is not defined.  Industry groups sent comments on the proposed rule (issued in October 2015) that stressed the importance of granting service companies the ability to make trade secret claims directly. On September 2, 2016, NPS issued the final environmental impact statement (“FEIS”) for the rulemaking.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations:  On November 11, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) published final changes to its regulations governing oil and gas operations in National Wildlife Refuges.  The final regulations contain essentially the same hydraulic fracturing chemical disclosure requirements and trade secret protection provisions adopted by National Park Service, with the latter being based on the BLM trade secret regulations that require operator participation in trade secret claims.  However, unlike the NPS final rule, the FWS rule is limited to hydraulic fracturing rather than all well stimulation activities.  The final environmental impact statement for the rulemaking was issued on August 19, 2016.

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