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.