Western Caucus: BLM Fracking Rule Rollback ‘A Major Victory For The West’
“The Obama-era BLM fracking rule is unnecessary and burdensome—costing the oil and gas industry over $32 million annually,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said in a statement to Western Wire. “Each state has their own laws regulating energy production, to meet their own specific needs and address new and changing technology.”
The rule, which would have added federal requirements to oil and natural gas development to existing state regulations, is challenged in court by the attorneys general of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and North Dakota, the Ute Indian Tribe, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Western Energy Alliance, a supporter of Western Wire. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Thursday in Denver.
Mark Barron, a Denver-based BakerHostetler attorney representing industry groups in the pending litigation, said the agency’s proposal is “consistent with what the industry petitioners have been saying all along: that the 2015 version of the rule did not provide any incremental environmental protection and was just a meaningless imposition of costs on industry.”
In a proposal published in the Federal Register yesterday, the BLM noted that complying with the rule would have cost the oil and natural gas approximately $32 million to $43 million per year.
“[T]he BLM believes that the 2015 final rule unnecessarily burdens industry with compliance costs and information requirements that are duplicative of regulatory programs of many states and some tribes,” agency officials wrote. “As a result, we are proposing to rescind, in its entirety, the 2015 final rule.”
Lawmakers across the West, including the Congressional Western Caucus, have claimed the agency’s decision as a win for their states, emphasizing that the practice of hydraulic fracturing, essential for oil and natural gas development today, is already regulated at the state level.
“The Obama Administration continuously pandered to extremist groups, enacting senseless regulations which were not based on science that punished job creators in the process,” Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) said. “BLM’s duplicative fracking rule was no exception. Scrapping this unnecessary Washington mandate is a major victory for the West and something Western Caucus members have been leading the charge on for years.”
“This is a major victory for New Mexico and other western states that were targeted by this job-killing regulation,” Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) said.
The Interior Department’s decision on the rule is part of its response to a March executive order directing the agency to “review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources” and to recommend suspending, revising, or rescinding those that “unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law.”