Enzi and Mead critical of new fracking rules announced by BLM

Enzi and Mead critical of new fracking rules announced by BLM
Deep well rig. BLM photo.

CHEYENNE – Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead voiced displeasure with the Bureau of Land Management after new fracking rules were announced on Friday.

The first federal regulations for fracking since the drilling technique created an energy boom will require extensive disclosure of chemicals used on public land.  The BLM said drillers on federal lands must reveal the chemicals they use, meet well construction standards and safely dispose of contaminated water used in fracking.

Mead opposed the new BLM fracking rules and said he will evaluate a legal challenge.

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“Wyoming created safe, responsible standards for hydraulic fracturing years ago. It was the first state to require disclosure and these rules have been in place for decades,” Mead said. “BLM is not only late to the game, it proposes a rule that establishes a separate process for drilling and complicates compliance. I do not believe BLM has the authority to promulgate this rule and I have asked the Attorney General to evaluate a legal challenge.”

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo, also voiced his displeasure with the rules on Friday.

“Once again President Obama has decided to do what he can to smother America’s energy development. Wyoming has already issued hydraulic fracturing regulations for our state and these new federal rules will do nothing but delay the permitting process,” said Enzi. “We are 50 unique states. A federal, one-size-fits-all approach increases the power base in Washington, but the public at large benefits more when each state regulates based on what is best for its own residents.”

Both sides have been critical of the rules which should go into effect in three months. Industry has opposed these added regulations while environmentalists raised concerns about water contamination. Environmental groups said the regulations put industry interests ahead of public health.

Domestic production from more than 100,000 wells on public lands accounts for about 11 percent of U.S. natural-gas production and 5 percent of oil production. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a technique in which water, chemicals and sand are shot underground to free oil or gas from rock. It is used for about 90 percent of the wells on federal lands.