By Jeryl L. Olson and Eric E. Boyd

On May 10, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its draft “Permitting Guidance for Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel Fuels.” The initial public comment period for this proposal was 60 days, ending on July 9, 2012. In response to requests from stakeholders, the EPA has now extended the public comment period for an additional 45 days. The deadline for submitting comments is now August 23, 2012.

The draft guidance contains EPA’s interpretation of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and regulations regarding Underground Injection Control (UIC) permitting of oil and gas hydraulic fracturing operations using diesel fuels as a fracturing fluid or as a component of a fracturing fluid — specifically that they are subject to Class II UIC permitting requirements. EPA’s stated goal for this draft guidance is to “provide greater regulatory clarity and certainty to the industry.” The draft guidance is intended for EPA permit writers and is relevant where EPA directly implements the UIC Class II program.

Comments should be directed to Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OW–2011–1013, and may be emailed to OWDocket@epa.gov, or mailed to Permitting Guidance for Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel Fuels—Draft, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 4606M, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC.