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Producers oppose federal frac standard idea, groups say

The presidents of five US oil and gas trade associations quickly disputed US Sec. of the Interior Ken Salazar’s Feb. 15 statement that producers might welcome a national hydraulic fracturing standard based on forthcoming onshore federal regulations.

“We…want to explicitly state that our member companies support the current state processes for regulation of hydraulic fracturing,” said Jack N. Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute, Barry Russell of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, Bruce Thompson of the American Exploration & Production Council, Albert L. Modiano of the US Oil & Gas Association, and Regina Hopper of America’s Natural Gas Alliance.

“More importantly, we have repeatedly requested that [Interior] utilize the state-operated Frac-Focus reporting system instead of attempting to create a different, costly, and unnecessary new reporting process,” they said in a Feb. 16 letter to the US House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) after Salazar appeared there on Feb. 15 to discuss DOI’s fiscal 2013 budget request.

Responding to committee member Scott Tipton’s (R-Colo.) questions about evolving hydraulic fracturing regulations for onshore federal lands, the secretary said they would be developed following full consultations with state and Indian tribal governments. “There also are many in the industry who have spoken to me that they’d rather have a standard they can follow from state-to-state,” he continued. “I always hear from them that they don’t like to deal with a patchwork of regulations. Ours will deal only with the federal estate, but it could provide a template for possible national standards.”

Interior wants to make certain that fracing ingredient information is readily available, but it does not want to duplicate what several states already have done as well as the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission and Groundwater Water Protection Council’s Frac-Focus voluntary registry, Deputy US Interior Sec. David J. Hayes subsequently noted.

“While we plan to continue to press for a Frac-Focus approach, we want to dispel any suggestions that there is a need for a new federal framework to address the fracturing chemical disclosure issue or to develop a national well construction model,” the five association executives said in their letter. “Such a framework or model would be counterproductive given the efforts by state governments to tailor regulation to local demands.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.


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