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Public Statements

Letter to Secretary Sally Jewell, Department of the Interior - National Blueways Order

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Representative Cynthia Lummis all R-Wyo., wrote Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, requesting an exemption for Wyoming and other states currently regulating hydraulic fracturing from the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) final rule on hydraulic fracturing.

In their letter, the delegation explains how BLM's proposed fracking rule is duplicative and will significantly delay and discourage oil and gas permitting and production on our nation's public lands. They explain that Secretary Jewell has been unable to say that states currently regulating hydraulic fracturing are not doing a sufficient job.

"In conclusion, we believe that states are best positioned to regulate hydraulic fracturing. We appreciate your acknowledgment that Wyoming has "great, sophisticated' hydraulic fracturing regulations and is "a good example of a state that is doing an effective job.' We therefore request that you exempt Wyoming and the other states currently regulating hydraulic fracturing from BLM's final rule. State regulations are a solution that is working for the people of our nation's public land states. They should be supported, not supplanted, by the Administration," the Wyoming delegation wrote.

On June 6th, 2013, in response to a question from Senator Barrasso at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, Secretary Jewell stated that Wyoming is "a good example of a state doing an effective job" regulating hydraulic fracturing.

On July 17th, 2013, in response to a question from Representative Lummis at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing, Secretary Jewell stated that Wyoming has "great, sophisticated" hydraulic fracturing regulations.

The public comment period for BLM's hydraulic fracturing rule closes on Friday, August 23rd.

Full text of the letter below:

August 19, 2013

The Honorable Sally Jewell
Secretary of the Interior
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW, Room 5665
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Jewell:

We are writing today to express our concern about the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) proposed rule on hydraulic fracturing published in the Federal Register on May 24, 2013. BLM's proposed rule duplicates, in many aspects, state regulations that already address well-bore integrity and flowback water and require the disclosure of hydraulic fracturing constituents used on Federal public lands. We believe that BLM's proposed rule will significantly delay oil and gas permitting and in turn discourage oil and gas production on our nation's public lands.

In contrast to most states, public land states face a number of challenges relating to the management of land and minerals within their borders. For example, those looking to gain access to our nation's public lands must comply not only with state law, but also with Federal law. Federal law and regulations often delay investment and job creation for years. Consequently, Federal law and regulations push investment out of public land states and into other states where there is greater regulatory certainty. On March 14, 2012, then BLM Director, Bob Abbey, testified that there has been "a shift [in oil and gas production] to private lands in the East and to the South where there are fewer amounts of Federal mineral estate." We believe BLM's final rule will contribute to this shift in oil and gas production and cost public land states, Indian tribes, and the Federal government hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

We also question whether BLM's final rule will provide any meaningful benefits not already provided by public land states. Public land states, such as Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, and Utah, currently enforce their own hydraulic fracturing regulations, including regulations requiring the disclosure of hydraulic fracturing constituents. These state regulations not only apply to private and state lands, but also apply or could be applied to Federal public lands within the states' respective borders. On June 6, 2013, you were asked before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee which states currently regulating hydraulic fracturing are not doing a sufficient job. Your inability to identify any state suggests, at the very least, that BLM's final rule should not apply to states currently regulating hydraulic fracturing.

In conclusion, we believe that states are best positioned to regulate hydraulic fracturing. We appreciate your acknowledgment that Wyoming has "great, sophisticated" hydraulic fracturing regulations and is "a good example of a state that is doing an effective job." We therefore request that you exempt Wyoming and the other states currently regulating hydraulic fracturing from BLM's final rule. State regulations are a solution that is working for the people of our nation's public land states. They should be supported, not supplanted, by the Administration.

Sincerely,


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