Western Senators Introduce Legislation To Protect States From Redundant Federal Energy Regulations
Senators from the West introduced legislation today that would shield states from redundant regulations on hydraulic fracturing from federal agencies.
The Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act (S.316), sponsored by senators in Utah and Wyoming, recognizes that all states with significant oil and gas development already have adequate regulations in place for hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing stimulates the flow of oil and natural gas from rock formations.
“The last thing we need is costly and duplicative regulation from Washington on top of what’s already in place in Utah—especially when the existing framework has more than proven itself to be effective,” said bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in a statement today. “This bill does nothing to stop the federal government from implementing fracking standards in states where none exist, it simply says that regulations from the federal government cannot trump state action already in place.”
The bill also acknowledges that states have pioneered effective and region-specific regulations for hydraulic fracturing after decades of overseeing the practice.
“For years, Wyoming and other western states have enforced the country’s most aggressive hydraulic fracturing regulations,” said bill co-sponsor U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in a statement.
“This bill would ensure it is the states who continue to lead in these efforts to properly regulate hydraulic fracturing,” U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), also a co-sponsor, said in a statement. States that are “already listening to the concerns of local stakeholders and communities shouldn’t see their efforts superseded by some redundant Washington power grab,” he added.
Industry groups in the West are welcoming the legislation. Kathleen Sgamma, head of Western Energy Alliance, urged Congress to pass the bill as “the federal government has no authority when states are already successfully regulating fracking,” she said in a statement. The Alliance represents the Western oil and natural gas industry and is a supporter of Western Wire.