Federal bureaucrats create redundant rules to solve a nonexistent problem with fracking

Our Washington puppet masters are always in search of a problem to solve, and they invariably find a solution even if they can’t find a problem.

The Interior Department Friday released a lengthy set of rules for fracking on public lands, which means about 87 percent of Nevada.

AP file photo of natural gas drilling rig in Pennsylvania

“Current federal well-drilling regulations are more than 30 years old and they simply have not kept pace with the technical complexities of today’s hydraulic fracturing operations,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a press release, never mind that hydraulic fracturing has been used in a majority of oil and natural gas wells since the 1940s. “This updated and strengthened rule provides a framework of safeguards and disclosure protocols that will allow for the continued responsible development of our federal oil and gas resources. As we continue to offer millions of acres of public lands for conventional and renewable energy production, it is absolutely critical the public have confidence that transparent and effective safety and environmental protections are in place.”

Also, never mind that the states currently regulate fracking and there have been virtually no problems or water contamination associated with the process. Pay no heed to the fact the states maintain the power to regulate water within their boundaries or the state’s maintain police powers over federal land within their boundaries.

Nope, they are from the federal government and they are coming to save the day with job killing, economy choking regulations such as:

• Provisions for ensuring the protection of groundwater supplies by requiring a validation of well integrity and strong cement barriers between the wellbore and water zones through which the wellbore passes;
• Increased transparency by requiring companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing to the Bureau of Land Management through the website FracFocus, within 30 days of completing fracturing operations;
• Higher standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing to mitigate risks to air, water and wildlife;
• Measures to lower the risk of cross-well contamination with chemicals and fluids used in the fracturing operation, by requiring companies to submit more detailed information on the geology, depth, and location of preexisting wells to afford the BLM an opportunity to better evaluate and manage unique site characteristics.

Less than a year ago, Nevada Division of Minerals Administrator Rich Perry released Nevada’s 20-page revised rules that require groundwater testing before and after drilling, pressure testing of equipment, notifications to landowners before fracking begins and abiding by strict engineering standards.

Noble Energy rig in Elko County

Redundancy from the bureaucracy.

The oil and gas industry immediately filed suit in Wyoming to block the rules, calling them “arbitrary and unnecessary burdens” for industry.

The Congressional Western Caucus criticized, saying the process adds costly red tape and bureaucratic uncertainty to the oil and gas permitting process on federal lands.

“The Department of the Interior has yet to demonstrate why a federal hydraulic fracturing rule is even necessary in the first place with states already regulating the practice effectively within their borders,”said Caucus Chairman Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming. “This rule jeopardizes these efforts by forcing states to jump through bureaucratic hoops just to reclaim their authority to regulate drilling and wellhead activities that have been under their purview for decades. The federal government is the newcomer in this space, bringing nothing to the table except more red tape and more barriers to energy production on federal land that continues to lag far behind the energy boom on state and private lands. This rule disproportionately impacts the very western states whose energy reserves are a necessary ingredient to achieving lasting American energy security.”

Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, said, “The Obama administration’s hydraulic fracturing rule is a solution in search of a problem.”

The final rule is nearly 400 pages of bureaucratese.

‘To see if reindeer really know how to fly’

Merry Christmas to the 944 souls who have chosen to reside in King Cove, Alaska, from the Obama administration.

This week, according to Greenwire, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell reaffirmed a decision to refuse to allow the construction of a road from King Cove to the airport in Cold Bay in case of medical emergency, because the 20-mile gravel road would cut through a wilderness area.

As Republican Rep Don Young, Alaska’s only representative in Congress, put it, “While the families of King Cove gather together this holiday season, the Interior Department and the Fish and Wildlife Service have been sitting on this heartless decision until the most inopportune time. … This shameful and cowardly decision by Secretary Jewell, just two days before Christmas, to place eelgrass and waterfowl above human life is exactly what I would have expected from the Grinch, but not from an Administration that preaches access to quality healthcare for all.”

He also called the decision the “largest pile of horse manure ever delivered on Christmas.”

Greenwire quoted Jewel as saying, “I understand the need for reliable methods of medical transport from King Cove, but I have concluded that other methods of transport remain that could be improved to meet community needs.”

Perhaps: “To see if reindeer really know how to fly”?

The community of King Cove, Alaska