Western Caucus Lauds Trump Administration Proposal to Rescind Obama BLM Fracking Rule

Jul 24, 2017
Press Release


 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul A. Gosar D.D.S. (AZ-04), Executive Vice-Chairman Scott Tipton (CO-03), Chairman Emeritus Steve Pearce (NM-02), Chairman Emeritus Rob Bishop (UT-01), and Western Caucus Members David Valadao (CA-21), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Kevin Cramer (ND-AL) and Liz Cheney (WY-AL) released the following statements after the Trump Administration announced a proposed rule to rescind a duplicative and job-killing Obama Administration Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule which sought to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public and tribal lands:

“Unlike the previous administration, President Trump and Secretary Zinke understand that unconstitutional regulations that seize authority from states, hamper responsible energy development, harm our economy and ignore the voices of local communities are not in our best interest,” said Chairman Gosar. “The Obama Administration continuously pandered to extremist groups, enacting senseless regulations which were not based on science that punished job creators in the process. 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. I applaud the Trump Administration and the Department of Interior for continuing to deliver on our agenda."

Congressman Tipton stated: “Western states, including Colorado, have done a good job of regulating and monitoring hydraulic fracturing and those efforts should be able to continue without heavy-handed federal bureaucratic regulations that prevent responsible energy development from moving forward. I welcome the Department of the Interior’s action rescinding the BLM’s hydraulic fracturing rule, and I applaud Secretary Zinke’s commitment to protecting good-paying jobs in the West.”

“This is a major victory for New Mexico and other western states that were targeted by this job-killing regulation. This rule, like most Obama-era energy rules, added duplicative compliance regulations, increased costs, and threatened to drive producers out of the market – this approach does not represent a responsible balance between protecting the environment and allowing our economies to grow. Without heavy restrictions and crippling regulation costs, New Mexico’s energy industry can continue to thrive, keeping revenues in the state, saving jobs, and increasing opportunities for success. I strongly support Secretary Zinke’s actions to unleash the responsible production of energy so that New Mexico can have the freedom and opportunity it needs to continue as a leader in energy development,” remarked Congressman Pearce.

Congressman Bishop said,I applaud Secretary Zinke and his team for their work in returning the Department, it’s sub-agencies and bureaus to their core statutory functions. Taking this job-killing, federal regulatory overreach off the books is an important step in this process.”

Congressman Valadao stated, “Hydraulic fracturing has played an important role in the development of America's oil and natural gas resources for more than 60 years. In my Congressional District, hydraulic fracturing provides thousands of jobs, strengthening families and growing our community. Furthermore, California diligently regulates the industry, balancing the need to protect our environment with the value of economic growth, leaving a negligible need for federal involvement.”

“I am very pleased that the Trump Administration and the Interior Department are working hard to deliver on their pro-jobs and pro-economic growth promises to the American people. The hydraulic fracturing rule was overly burdensome, duplicative of state standards, and was a prime example of gross federal overreach. Hydraulic fracturing is a safe and proven technology that has existed for over 60 years. Now is the time to utilize the full potential of this dynamic technology and ensure a stable supply of affordable, reliable energy, and drive down prices for gasoline, electricity, and home heating,” said Congressman Lamborn.

Congressman Cramer stated, "The official rescinding of BLM's hydraulic fracturing rule marks another win for regulatory relief in North Dakota. This duplicative rule of state regulatory programs would have added more cost and delay to our energy producers with no safety or environmental benefits to show for it. Withdrawing the hydraulic fracturing rule continues the drumbeat of the Trump Administration improving how the federal government works with states and industry to foster jobs and investment without making sacrifices."

"I welcome the important step taken today by the Trump Administration to empower states by rescinding BLM's duplicative fracking rule. Obama-era policies aimed to destroy our fossil fuel industry by forcing American companies to sacrifice job creation, research, development and exploration in the name of complying with unnecessary regulations and red tape. These actions threatened economic stability in Wyoming and represented nothing short of a war on western energy production. I look forward to continuing my work with Wyoming's delegation, my colleagues in Congress and the Trump administration to unleash the potential of our fossil fuel industries which support our people, our jobs, and our way of life," concluded Congresswoman Cheney.

 

Background:

Today, the Department of the Interior announced its plan to rescind the Obama Administration's  BLM hydraulic fracturing rule through a new proposed rule in a Federal Register notice scheduled to be published tomorrow.

On March 20, 2015, the Obama Administration released duplicative regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. The text of the Obama proposed rule can be found HERE. The rule sought to create new requirements for well construction, wastewater management and chemical disclosure on public lands.

On June 24, 2015, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl granted a stay of BLM’s rule citing the fact that Congress never granted authority to the Department of Interior to regulate hydraulic fracturing.

The Obama Administration fracking rule would have created new burdensome requirements for well construction, wastewater management and chemical disclosure.

The Obama rule was also duplicative and extremely costly. It would have increased regulatory burdens without yielding significant benefits to the environment. 

State rules are specifically tailored to each state’s unique geologic and hydrologic conditions to better protect the environment and groundwater than a one-size-fits-all federal rule. Companies must already obtain a state permit and comply with all state regulations when operating on federal lands, and state regulators continue to develop new rules collaboratively with the public.

The Obama rule sought to impose an entirely redundant regulatory process that would have intensified existing permitting delays at the federal level. Most states process permits in 30 days or less. In December of 2016, the BLM reported that the agency’s average processing time for permits was 220 days.

Hydraulic fracturing has played an important role in the development of America's oil and natural gas resources for more than 60 years. In the United States, it is estimated that over one million wells have been fracked since the 1940s. Studies estimate that up to 80 percent of natural gas wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing to properly complete well setup.

(Courtesy of the American Action Forum’s Regulation Rodeo)

The rule is estimated to cost $49.9 million dollars to implement and creates more than 50,000 hours of paperwork for compliance.

 

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