Interior Department Releases Updated Fracing Rule

May 16, 2013

Regulatory uncertainty continues to threaten jobs and economic growth

(DENVER)- In response to the second release of the hydraulic fracturing (fracing) rule from the Department of the Interior (DOI), Western Energy Alliance repeated that the rule is an unnecessary layer of federal regulation. The rule will divert productive resources away from energy development, job creation, and economic growth into redundant federal compliance, further disadvantaging western public lands states.

"States have been successfully regulating fracing for decades, including on federal lands, with no incident of contamination that would necessitate redundant federal regulation," said Kathleen Sgamma VP of Government and Public Affairs for Western Energy Alliance. "While the current rule is better than the first impractical rule, DOI still has not justified the rule from an economic or scientific point of view. It continues to second guess states and tribes, and will hurt job creation and economic growth in western communities."

"At a time of limited federal budgets, DOI is canceling lease sales and struggling to issue permits in a timely manner. We continue to question why DOI is taking on a whole new regulatory regime when it lacks resources, expertise, and personnel to implement it. If anything, DOI should be delegating more to the states in recognition of their exemplary environmental and safety records, not requiring them to conform to federal standards that are not properly justified," concluded Sgamma.

Quick Facts:

  • Operators developing on federal lands must obtain state permits and comply with all state regulations.
  • States are the proper place to regulate hydraulic fracturing because they are closer to the communities impacted, and have done so for over 60 years. State rules specifically tailored to each state's unique geology, hydrology, infrastructure and other conditions better protect the environment and groundwater than a one-size-fits-all federal rule.
  • There have been no incidents of ground water contamination from fracing on federal lands that would necessitate the rule.
  • Any new federal regulation prior to the release of Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ongoing scientific study examining fracing is premature.
  • BLM failed to conduct a full economic assessment required for rules with over $100 million in annual cost, and therefore the rule violates the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, and Executive Order 12866 Regulatory Planning and Review.
  • Several western governors, Tribes, Members of Congress, the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission and counties have publicly opposed BLM regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands (view a partial list here.)


About Western Energy Alliance
Western Energy Alliance, founded in 1974 as the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, is a non-profit trade association representing more than 400 companies engaged in all aspects of environmentally responsible exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the West. More information on Western Energy Alliance and its members is available at