Independent oil, gas producers push for the withdrawal of hydraulic fracturing rule

Published on September 27, 2017 by Kevin Randolph

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The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance submitted on Monday comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), urging it to withdraw its rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and Native American lands.

BLM recently issued a proposed rule that would retract the March 2015 hydraulic fracturing rule. According to the trade associations’ comments on the proposed rule, the March 2015 rule is duplicative of state’s efforts and rescinding it would save the industry over $220 million per year.

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

After BLM released its 2015 final rule, IPAA, Western Energy Alliance, the states of Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah and the Ute Indian Tribe challenged the rule in court on the grounds that it is duplicative and unsubstantiated.

A federal judge issued a stay of the rule in June 2016. A Circuit Court dismissed an appeals case last week because the regulation will likely be revoked by the new administration. The court case on the final rule remains ongoing.

“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,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance, said. “We urge BLM to move forward swiftly with this rulemaking to finally put this ill-conceived rule to bed.”