Independent Oil, Gas Producers Urge Withdrawal of BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule to Increase American Energy Dominance and Jobs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance today submitted detailed comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on its proposed rule that would rescind the March 2015 nationwide rule governing the practice of hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands.
“From the beginning, the Associations have been actively engaged in efforts to assist BLM’s rulemaking efforts related to hydraulic fracturing,” wrote the groups in their comments. “The Associations are grateful that BLM now realizes that the one-size-fits-all solution the agency issued in 2015 was not an appropriate mechanism to address unsubstantiated public concern about hydraulic fracturing.”
The trade associations’ technical comments underscore in detail why the March 2015 final rule is duplicative of state’s efforts and was not justified by BLM. It is estimated that rescission of the 2015 regulation would result in over $220 million per year cost savings to the industry, according to the comments.
“Industry recognizes that every energy-producing area has different geologic, topographic, and hydrologic conditions, which is why the states are far more efficient and effective at regulating hydraulic fracturing than the federal government,” said Barry Russell, president and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. “Our companies have already demonstrated that even without the implementation of the 2015 federal rule, we play a part in the solution to reducing carbon emissions. Under the strong environmental leadership of state regulators, clean-burning natural gas, unlocked by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, has helped the United States cut its carbon emissions to near 30-year lows. The Obama-era rule is nothing more than duplicative federal overreach that would limit access to public lands and cost independent producers tens of thousands of dollars per well to implement without any measurable environmental or safety benefits. Simply put, a federal hydraulic fracturing rule would hurt America’s energy dominance, economic growth, and well-paying U.S. jobs.”
“Last week, the Circuit Court dismissed the environmental groups’ appeal, determining it to be a waste of judicial time and resources given the Trump Administration’s clear intent to revoke the rule,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance. “IPAA and the Alliance have been working together since the first draft of the rule was issued several years ago, and we’re providing yet more technical and legal reasoning on why the federal government should not infringe on state regulation of fracking. We urge BLM to move forward swiftly with this rulemaking to finally put this ill-conceived rule to bed.”
The BLM, under the Obama administration, released its precedent-setting final rule on March 20, 2015, making it difficult and costly for small and mid-sized producers to comply and likely discouraging economic investment and American job creation in the West. IPAA and Western Energy Alliance, along with and the states of Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah, and the Ute Indian Tribe, challenged the rule in court, characterizing the federal government’s rulemaking as duplicative of states’ efforts and unsubstantiated. A federal judge issued a stay of the rule in June 2016. A Circuit Court last week dismissed an appeals case, protecting producers from the business uncertainty of having to potentially comply with a regulation that is certain to be revoked by the new administration. The Associations’ court case on the final rule remains ongoing.
More information about the 2015 BLM hydraulic fracturing rule and the associations’ entire comments can be viewed at ipaa.org/fracking.
About the Independent Petroleum Association of America
The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) is a national upstream trade association representing thousands of independent oil and natural gas producers and service companies across the United States. Independent producers develop 90 percent of the nation’s oil and natural gas wells. These companies account for 54 percent of America’s oil production, 85 percent of its natural gas production, and support over 2.1 million American jobs. Learn more about IPAA by visiting www.ipaa.org and following @IPAAaccess on Twitter.
About Western Energy Alliance
Western Energy Alliance represents over 300 companies engaged in all aspects of environmentally responsible exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the West. Alliance members are independents, the majority of which are small businesses with an average of fifteen employees. Learn more at www.WesternEnergyAlliance.org.