U.S. Chamber’s Energy Institute Calls Proposed BLM Fracking Rule “Fundamentally Unnecessary”

U.S. Chamber’s Energy Institute Calls Proposed BLM Fracking Rule “Fundamentally Unnecessary”

WASHINGTON, D.C. —In formal comments submitted to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy said that BLM’s revised proposed rule regarding its proposed rule on hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands will harm development of America’s vast shale energy resources.

The comments note that given extensive existing state regulations, BLM has failed to make a case that additional federal regulations are needed to ensure the safe use of hydraulic fracturing.  BLM’s rule unnecessarily duplicates regulations from the states, who have taken the lead in regulating oil and natural gas development for many decades.

“BLM has presented no evidence that the robust state regulations already in place are not sufficient to regulate hydraulic fracturing,” said Christopher Guith, vice president for policy at the U.S. Chamber’s Energy Institute.  “That makes this proposed rule fundamentally unnecessary, and it should be withdrawn.”

The Energy Institute’s comments state that along with questionable benefits, the rule will be difficult to implement.  In addition, it will add significant new costs, but is lacking performance standards to ensure transparency and predictability.  The rule could increase the cost of developing oil and natural gas on federal lands, which is of particular concern considering already occurring price pressures in dry gas production areas.  One estimate has placed the cost of implementing BLM’s new regulation at as high as $96,000 per well.

“Oil and natural gas production, particularly from unconventional sources, has been one of the only bright spots in America’s economy over the last few years,” Guith added.  “Rather than proposing new regulations that will further decrease federal production while providing few actual benefits, the federal government should be focused on supporting responsible development of our nation’s oil and gas resources.”

The Energy Institute’s 2013 Index of U.S. Energy Security Risk, released earlier this week, found that America’s overall energy security risks have decreased due to increased domestic oil and gas production, which have reduced price volatility and imports.

According to America’s New Energy Future, a study produced by IHS and cosponsored by the Energy Institute, shale energy extraction has created 1.75 million jobs and will contribute nearly 3 million jobs by 2020, all overwhelmingly on non-federal lands.   In addition to jobs created directly and indirectly because of new production, the economic benefits go far beyond the well site. Abundant natural gas supply is providing a competitive advantage to American manufacturing.

To read the Energy Institute’s full comments, click here.

The mission of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful action at the local, state, national, and international levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.