Fracking regs could cost billions, industry claims

Proposed federal regulations of hydraulic fracturing could cost Americans more than $1.6 billion annually, an industry organization said, prompting an environmental group to call it money well spent.

The Western Energy Alliance on Tuesday said the proposed rule “will impose a cost to society of at least $1.499 billion and as high as $1.615 billion annually.”

Those costs, moreover, are unnecessary because states already regulate hydraulic fracturing and there have been no incidents of contamination from fracturing, the alliance said.

The National Wildlife Federation, however, said the practice is a threat on several levels.

“Costs imposed by federal fracking rules aren’t a cost to society,” said Kate Zimmerman, public lands policy director for the National Wildlife Federation. “They’re a cost of doing business by an industry that counts its profits in the billions of dollars. The costs to society of failing to regulate fracking, of not protecting our water, air and wildlife, are high.”

The energy alliance cited a study by an economics firm, which concluded that the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed rule would divert company resources away from energy development and economic growth into complying with federal rules that replicate state regulation.

Affected states have regulated fracturing without incidents, said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs for Western Energy Alliance.

The Interior Department is “willing to rush forward with regulations that lack a scientific basis and a thorough economic analysis as required for major rules that exceed the $100 million cost threshold,” Sgamma said. “Western Energy Alliance calls on the federal government to abandon plans to move forward with this rule.”

The proposed regulation would require disclosure of the chemicals used in the process once the company has completed drilling.

Companies have pushed back against the rule, saying that the composition of the fracturing fluids is proprietary.

In Colorado, companies post the composition of fluids on fracfocus.org, a joint project of the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

The proposed rule would affect drilling on the 700 million acres of public land administered by the BLM and 56 million acres of Indian lands.


COMMENTS

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This industry takes billions of dollars of oil and gas out of land owned by the public, pays a minimal royalty for doing so, makes more profit than any other industry on the planet, and doesn’t want to play by rules that are designed to keep our water and air clean and our livestock, wildlife, and citizens healthy? This isn’t going to break them, but a health problem for a worker could very well destroy the family of the worker. It is time to get our priorities straight. Stop putting profits over people.

Add $1 a gallon to your next tank of gas, and prepare for your next xcel rate hike, brought to you by the eco-hypocrits of america. Energy companies aren’t just going to absorb these costs, they will pass them on down to consumers.

M Todd Miskel, you have been drinking the kool-aid too long. The federal regulations are looking a lot like the regulatins that already exist in Colorado, and that industry has accepted as valid and good, per a story written by this reporter just this week. Doing what they are already doing, is not going to increase expenses. Then there is the little fact that you are ignoring about taxpayers paying for clean up from extractive industries. That doesn’t hit you in your pocket? Let’s prevent the pollution instead of digging into our pockets to clean it up.

James, it is scientific fact that some of the chemicals used in fracking are toxic to humans and wildlife. It is scientific fact that the industry has developed some green fracking fluids that are sourced from the food industry. It is scientific fact that industry does not widely use the green fracking fluids because they are more expensive. It is scientific fact that there have been multiple spills related to the life cycle of wells, many of which have polluted rivers—the most recent just last week in Canada. It is scientific fact that industry has not been required to establish any baseline for water, air, or soil quality before beginning operations, giving them plausible deniability for any pollution that has occurred. This is a strategy that provides them cover for any liability, as demonstrated in a court case that was resolved to the satisfaction of industry just last week. Plausible deniability is speculation on my part about the strategy of the industry. The rest is scientific fact. P.S. Google Pavillion, Wyoming.

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