Utah will ask to join Wyoming, North Dakota, and Colorado in a lawsuit challenging the US Bureau of Land Management’s recently issued hydraulic fracturing regulations, Gov. Gary R. Herbert (R) reported. The new federal rule unlawfully interferes with state regulations that already address the process, the action contends (OGJ Online, Mar. 27, 2015).
“There is no question the practice of hydraulic fracturing should be regulated in order to ensure protection of the environment,” Herbert said on May 18 during the annual business meeting of the Interstate Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, which he chairs.
“However, adoption of the proposed rule would create an inconsistent, costly, and inefficient regulatory system that provides no additional environmental protection or public safety than is offered by programs already enforced by the state,” he maintained.
Herbert said BLM’s new regulation, which the US Department of the Interior agency issued in March (OGJ Online, Mar. 20, 2015), is likely to add years to the permitting process and hamper the drilling of thousands of wells in the Beehive State.
He said that according to some estimates, BLM’s fracing rule could cost $97,000-253,000/well, and cumulatively cost Utah $75-243 million/year.
“So far, there have been no instances of environmental damage in Utah related to the integrity of a well undergoing a [fracing] operation,” Herbert said. “This is yet another unfortunate example of federal regulatory overreach.”
Contact Nick Snow at [email protected].