Proposed federal rules for the oil and gas industry practice of hydraulic fracturing will get a two-month delay, officials with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Monday.

The move comes after Wyoming government officials, state industry representatives and others outside the state requested more time to weigh the rule's effects.

The agency decided to delay closing public comment on the rules to allow for more feedback, said Acting BLM Director Mark Pool.

"As the Obama administration continues to offer millions of acres of America's public lands for oil and gas development, it is critical that the public have full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place," he said in a news release. "We've been asked to allow more time for comment on the proposed rule, and the BLM has determined that additional time was warranted so that all parties had an opportunity to participate."

Wyoming state and industry officials had asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for more time to consider the rules, and said they were concerned the rules would duplicate state regulations, needlessly delay drilling and cost operators millions of dollars. 

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is used in approximately 90 percent of wells drilled on federal and Indian lands, said the BLM, an agency of the Interior Department.

Operators frack wells by forcing in water, sand and chemicals that crack open pathways for oil and gas to flow to the surface.

Reach Jeremy Fugleberg at 307-266-0623 or Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter: @jerenergy.


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