IPAA, Western Energy Alliance applaud full repeal of hydraulic fracturing rule

Published on January 02, 2018 by Kevin Randolph

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The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance released statements last week welcoming the Department of the Interior’s decision to repeal a federal rule regulating hydraulic fracturing.

The Obama Administration’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued the final rule on March 20, 2015, which placed regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands.

“It was clear from the start that the federal rule was redundant with state regulation and politically motivated, as the prior administration could not point to one incident or regulatory gap that justified the rule,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance, said. “Western Energy Alliance appreciates that BLM under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke understands this rule was duplicative and has rescinded it. States have an exemplary safety record regulating fracking, and that environmental protection will continue as before.”

IPAA and Western Energy Alliance, along with the states of Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah as well as the Ute Indian Tribe, challenged the rule in the federal district court of Wyoming after its release, saying that the rulemaking was unsubstantiated and duplicative of states’ regulatory efforts.

On Sep. 30, 2015, a U.S. District Court judge granted IPAA and Western Energy Alliance’s motion for a preliminary injunction of the rule. On June 21, 2016, the District Court judge struck down the BLM final rule.

“The rescinding of this burdensome rule, which was never enacted due to IPAA and Western Energy Alliance’s ongoing legal challenge, will save our member companies and those operating on federal lands hundreds of millions of dollars in compliance costs without any corresponding safety benefits,” IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell, said. “We are pleased that the over five-year-long process can now come to a favorable close as states continue to be in the best position to safely regulate hydraulic fracturing activities on their lands.”

On June 30, 2016, the Obama Administration and environmental parties filed an appeal to the District Court ruling with the Tenth U.S. Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals dismissed the case, preventing producers from potentially having to comply with the regulation, which was likely to be revoked.

The Tenth Circuit Court directed the Interior Department to finish repealing the 2015 BLM hydraulic fracturing rule by Jan. 12, 2018. The Interior Department’s decision makes the court deadline moot. The repeal will be effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register.

“We applaud the Interior Department decision to completely rescind the Obama-era rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands,” Russell said.