Today, May 16, the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Interior opened for public comment a new rule that will govern hydraulic fracturing on federal lands if approved.

At 171 pages long, the rule is substantial. According to the BLM the intent of the rule is to "establish commonsense standards." However, the rule is already facing blowback from the energy industry.

"This is an unnecessary rule," said Vice President of Government Affairs for the Western Energy Alliance, Kathleen Sgamm. "It's not taking into account the excellent environmental and safety record that states have. We don't believe that at this time the federal government has the capability or the expertise to implement a rule that would not result in job loss and economic detriment."

The new rule is similar to a proposed rule that came out in May of 2012. That rule was quickly scrapped after it came under heavy for being unnecessarily obtrusive. While it was proposed though, the rule received over 177 thousand responses during the public comment period. Sgamma says this rule is better, but still bad.

"It is certainly better than the rule that came out last year," said Sgamma," but it's fundamentally the imposition of a new federal layer of regulation on top of what states are already doing that hasn't been justified from an economic or scientific standpoint. the Department of the Interior can point to no incident on federal land  that would cause them to have to put in place new regulation."

The public comment period will last 30 days and will end June 13th.

Kathleen Sgamma


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