Beginning Monday, producers will have to notify the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) two days in advance by e-mail of their plans to hydraulically fracture (frack) natural gas wells

“Once the rule is final in the Federal Register, two days before operation [fracking] the facility will have to give notice to the EPA,” said Khary Cauthen, senior director of federal relations with the American Petroleum Institute (API), which represents major oil and gas producers.

The agency has set up an e-mail address system so operators can notify the EPA when they will be doing completions, he said. Producers will send e-mails to EPA offices in the regions where they are operating. The EPA “made known” to producers a list of the e-mail addresses last week, according to API.

“Wherever you’re drilling, whichever EPA region your job is falling under, that’s who at EPA you’ll send your notification to,” Cauthen said.

“Industry has been working, and API namely has been working, with the EPA on this rule for a couple of years. Specifically, we wanted to make sure that the compliance requirements…did not do anything to disrupt the energy that America needs.

“Having to notify the EPA two days before a specific operation we felt…makes sense. In other iterations of this rule, it was a longer time period of notification that did not make sense because sometimes locations or weather or what may have you will change exactly what the operation is. Two days before is appropriate,” Cauthen said. “Our companies flagged this as an issue early on in the proposal. The timing of notification was very important to us.”

The notification requirement was part of the new source performance standards for fracked wells, which the EPA finalized in August (see Shale Daily, Aug. 20). Both the API and the Independent Petroleum Association of America protested the EPA final standards, which are aimed at restricting volatile organic compounds and sulfur dioxide emissions from onshore natural gas operations, including fracked wells.