Trump’s Interior Dept Begins Rolling Back Obama-Era Fracking Regs

Reuters/Jim Urquhart

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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The Department of the Interior (DOI) is proposing a complete repeal of a 2015 Obama-era rule governing hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands, according to an agency plan set to be published Tuesday in the Federal Register.

If repealed, state and tribal governments would be responsible for enforcing fracking regulations on those lands, instead of the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

“The BLM believes that the 2015 final rule unnecessarily burdens industry with compliance costs and information requirements that are duplicative of regulatory programs of many states and some tribes,” federal officials wrote in the agency plan. “As a result, we are proposing to rescind, in its entirety, the 2015 final rule.”

The 2015 regulation costs the oil and gas industry $45 million yearly to comply with protections and safeguards that are vastly redundant and already covered by state, local, and tribal regulations on hydraulic fracking, according to the BLM proposal.

The 2015 rule pitted environmentalists against industry groups, several Western states and American Indian tribes in legal battles that have continued the past two years. Environmentalists support the rule as necessary for protecting clean water, but critics say that state and local regulations are enough, according to E&E News.

The repeal proposal is in response to a March 28 executive order to review several regulations to certify they “promote clean and safe [energy] development … while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth and prevent job creation.”

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