Governor Matt Mead expressed that he is proud of Wyoming's record of effective regulation of the oil and gas industry in his comments on the Bureau of Land Management's proposed rule for hydraulic fracturing. Governor Mead wrote to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to say that the BLM should reject the duplicative regulation and defer to states like Wyoming.
"As a leading energy producer, Wyoming continues to set the standard for development and environmental stewardship," Governor Mead wrote. He pointed to Wyoming's first-in-the-nation hydraulic fracturing rules, updated well bore integrity standards, air standards for natural gas production and wells that are hydraulically fractured, and Wyoming's recently released energy strategy. "Guided by this energy strategy, Wyoming is establishing baseline groundwater sampling, analysis and monitoring regulations."
Given state leadership is already in place in Wyoming, Governor Mead expressed concern that the new BLM rule would add to existing delays and undercapitalization of federal permitting. Another area of concern is the BLM's effort to grant variances to allow compliance with state or tribal requirements when those meet or exceed the federal rule or standard. What is troubling is that the ability to acquire variance is given to operators, not states or tribes. "Despite BLM's contention that states will be afforded opportunity to work with the BLM to craft a variance, the mechanism in the rule only allows operators to pursue a variance," Governor Mead wrote.
The Governor requests a reconsideration of this provision and that the BLM not expand its administrative footprint in Wyoming. "Wyoming has led the nation in regulating hydraulic fracturing, and the BLM should allow us to continue that leadership," Governor Mead said.