FEMA Announces New Hydraulic Fracturing Policy

On July 6, 2017, FEMA published a new policy to provide Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) program guidance on subsurface hydraulic fracturing and horizontal directional drilling (hydraulic fracturing/HDD), designating such activity as a compatible use when it occurs at the subsurface level, or below-ground, for properties acquired for open space with HMA funds.


In this policy, FEMA considered the practice of hydraulic fracturing/HDD activities and determined that based on the available information, the actions occurring in subsurface layers to extract natural gas or oil are uses that are generally compatible with open space. These actions generally do not increase flood risk or present an obstruction in the floodplain.  Additionally, they generally do not obstruct the natural and beneficial floodplain functions.


With regard to surface level activities, FEMA determined that related appurtenances, equipment, and/or wastewater disposal associated with hydraulic fracturing/HDD are not compatible uses with open space and they are not allowed on acquired land parcels.

FEMA Policy (FP-302-094-03) can be viewed online. Information about the Hazard Mitigation program is also available at www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance.


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