Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today released the followings statement after the White House extended the comment period for new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Hydraulic fracturing rules for 60 days. Earlier this week, Rehberg joined House National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop and 56 other members of the U.S. House in sending a letter requesting an extension.
"This delay is welcome news. These job-killing regulations are designed to target robust job creation in Northeast Montana. Radical environmental groups like the League of Conservation Voters favor an agenda of carbon-based energy taxes and higher energy costs. At every turn, they are blocking job-creating infrastructure projects like Keystone XL. It's clear that President Obama and his Senate allies who rely on the League of Conservation Voters to fund their campaigns will do anything to harm domestic energy production and increase our reliance on foreign countries like Venezuela and Russia for our energy security."
Rehberg's June 20 letter is below:
Dear Secretary Salazar:
We are writing in regards to the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) proposed rule for "Oil and Gas; Well Stimulation, Including Hydraulic Fracturing, on Federal and Indian Lands" which was published in the Federal Register on May 11, 2012. We are concerned this proposal might have significant negative consequences on American energy security and job growth. Given what is at stake, we ask that the public comment period be extended to allow for additional consideration.
States have long and successful histories in regulating oil and natural gas operations, including hydraulic fracturing, well construction, and management of produced water. The federal government does not need to add additional regulations to a system that is working. Administration officials have testified before Congress saying that hydraulic fracturing has been used on over one million wells without a single report of groundwater contamination. Additionally, a nationwide rule fails to consider each state's unique geology, hydrology, and other varying conditions. Given the complicated and technical nature of this rule, and particularly how the rule might undermine existing state regulations, we believe additional time for review is warranted.
Furthermore, as you are aware, statistics have illustrated that oil and gas activities have already decreased significantly on federal lands compared to activity levels on state and private lands across the nation. We believe a major component of that trend has been the unnecessarily burdensome bureaucracy and related uncertainty that comes with operating under the federal regime. This operating environment creates a competitive disadvantage for resources on public and Indian lands, to the detriment of the taxpayer and to tribal owners who would prefer to see the greatest return on their assets. For western communities whose potential tax bases are restricted by large federal land holdings, and for tribal communities who are often the most underserved in the nation, the impact of lost or lessened economic activity is substantial. For the nation as a whole, struggling with crippling national debt, the undue reduction of potential federal revenues is absolutely irresponsible.
As Members of Congress focused on job creation, energy security, and sound regulatory policies, we take our responsibility of reviewing the proposed rule very seriously. We must assure our constituents that any proposals which exacerbate the issues discussed above receive complete and thorough vetting of all the possible intended and unintended consequences. It is for these reasons that we write to request the comment period for the public, tribes, states, and affected stakeholders be extended 90 days.