In this week’s news update, the rig count drops to new lows, and closer monitoring of fracking wastewater is signed into law in Nebraska.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signed new regulations for the state’s oil and gas industry on March 30.

The law will require periodic sampling and reporting of fracking waste fluids and monitoring of produced water transporters. It also reduces the “promotional” duties of the Nebraska Oil and Gas Commission and refocuses the agency’s purpose on promoting health, safety and protection of natural resources.

Sen. Ken Schlitz of Ogallala, Nebraska, told the Associated Press that he introduced the bill in response to public input last year during a series of hearings focused on the state’s oil and gas industry.

Related: GOM Pipelines: Coal Production Down; Refinery Runs To Hit Record High

Rig Count Drops 14 to 450
The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped 14 last week to 450, according to Baker Hughes. A year ago, 1,028 rigs were active.

The Houston-based oilfield services company says 362 rigs were seeking oil and 88 explored for natural gas in numbers released on April 1.

Texas lost five rigs and Oklahoma dropped four. California, North Dakota and Oklahoma each lost two, while Alaska, Kansas and Pennsylvania declined by one each. New Mexico gained two rigs and Utah was up one. Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

Related: Guest Blog: Fracking Finally Gets a Good Rap

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. The previous low of 488 was set in 1999, but was eclipsed March 11 and has continued to fall.

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