Hoeven: EPA Not Planning a Moratorium on Fracking in ND

Agency Clarifies Plans Regarding Fracking Guidelines

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said the Environmental Protection Agency has clarified that it is not planning a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in North Dakota. The agency will, however, provide guidelines that state regulators can use to draft rules governing the use of diesel fuel in fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

In a conference call arranged by Senator Hoeven, EPA officials Cynthia Dougherty, Director of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, and Ann Codrington, Director of the Drinking Water Protection Division, said the agency will provide a process for the state of North Dakota to provide input on the diesel fracking guidelines before they’re finalized. The state will continue as the primary regulator, they said. Hoeven stressed the need to make the rules realistic and workable, and to ensure that there is a process for their implementation so there is no gap in the state’s ability to oversee hydraulic fracturing.

Dougherty said the agency is working on a definition of diesel, which she said can have a broad range of meanings. Hoeven said the definition needs to be realistic, considering diesel is a product of petroleum, which is being recovered. Diesel is currently used in very small quantities in some fracking solutions. Companies can either substitute diesel with another suitable fluid or seek a permit from the state to use it. The agency will issue the diesel guidelines in draft form after the first of the year, and provide an opportunity for input during a public review process.

          “At a time when western North Dakota needs to attract private-sector investments in everything from housing to grocery stores to hotels and restaurants, the EPA must provide the kind of certainty investors need to make decisions,” Hoeven said.

Hoeven arranged today’s call to address concerns from residents and the industry that the agency was planning a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.