BLM Fracturing Rule Undermines State Authority

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance (WEA), in comments submitted to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding its second draft of a proposed rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing and well construction on federal lands, are calling the rule unnec­essary and a move to undermine state authority.

“This rule undercuts states’ authority to regulate energy production, a realm in which they have been suc­cessful for decades,” said IPAA president and CEO Barry Russell. “The cost to the industry will be a colossal $345 million a year. This bureaucratic burden will discourage independent producers from exploring for natural gas and oil on federal lands.”

“Our federal system has vested the states with the authority to ensure that development of energy sources is safe and responsible,” he added. “Together with state regulators and local environmental groups, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry has secured the great benefits of the shale revolution, while protecting the environment and strengthening local communities. The Department of the Interior (DOI) should not be in the business of undermining this progress.”

“The Interior Department cannot point to a single instance of an environmental problem from hydraulic fracturing,” noted Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs for WEA. “DOI already struggles to meet its current obligations, and has neither the resources nor the expertise to imple­ment this very prescriptive, complex rule. The rule will further disadvantage the West, as development, jobs, and economic activity will continue to migrate to areas without federal lands.”