fracking

The Interior Department is delaying planned rules that would impose new requirements on the controversial oil-and-gas production method called hydraulic fracturing.

Interior said Friday that it will float a new version of draft rules first issued last May and take new comments on the proposal that will govern “fracking” on public lands.

“In response to comments from stakeholders and the public, the [Bureau of Land Management] is making improvements to the draft proposal in order to maximize flexibility, facilitate coordination with state practices and ensure that operators on public lands implement best practices,” Interior spokesman Blake Androff said Friday.

The decision to issue another draft, which is expected to surface in the first quarter of this year, marks a significant delay in the plan. Interior initially floated the draft rules last May, and had earlier intended to finalize them by the end of 2012, although that timeline had already slipped.