The Department of the Interior is proposing strict new rules for fracking on federal land. As Kathleen Sgamma of the Western Energy Alliance explains, states, not the federal government, are at the forefront of fracking regulation. That’s why there is no need for these new federal rules:
Colorado has completed multiple rounds of rule-making over more than a decade, with increasing intensity in recent years. Wyoming is in a race to the top with Colorado in claiming the mantle of the state with the most stringent regulations. North Dakota, Texas, and in fact all western states with sizeable oil and natural gas development had updated their rules well before the federal government jumped in. In fact, 99.97 percent of the permits to drill approved last year by the Interior Department were in states with recently updated fracking regulations, with just one well in a state currently updating its rules…
Despite the characterization from the federal government, there is simply no regulatory gap. States have an exemplary safety record, as there is not one example of the fracking process resulting in the contamination of underground drinking water. But don’t take my word for it; all Interior and Energy secretaries and EPA administrators under President Barack Obama have vouched for the safety of fracking.
If these regulations are enacted, it could discourage energy production on federal land. That would hurt our economy and our energy security. The Interior Department should do the right thing and withdraw these rules. It should let the experts – the states – handle fracking regulation.