By September 28, 2017 0 Comments Read More →

Independents lobbying to remove rule banning fracking on US Indian, federal lands

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House repeals Obama rule on methane emissions on federal lands

Bureau of Land Mangemeng released precedent-setting final rule on March 20, 2015 under President Barack Obama

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance have 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, according to a press release.

“From the beginning, the Associations have been actively engaged in efforts to assist BLM’s rulemaking efforts related to hydraulic fracturing. 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,” wrote the groups in their comments.

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.

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“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.

The groups say 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.

“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,” said Russell.

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, according to the groups press release.

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.

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