AUSTIN - Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick today urged the federal Bureau of Land Management to exempt Texas and other states that are already effectively regulating hydraulic fracturing from the bureau’s proposed rules for federal and Indian lands.
“States are much more effective in encouraging oil and gas exploration, development and production, while still protecting the environment and human health,” Commissioner Craddick said in a letter addressed today to BLM and the Secretary of Interior. “It is clear that federal law and regulations detract operators from investments on federal lands, driving them towards production on non-federal land that is governed by greater regulatory certainty.”
Craddick notes that since 2012, all of the increases in oil and gas production have been on non-federal lands. A March 2013 Congressional Research Service report demonstrates that, since 2007, production of natural gas on federal lands fell by 33 percent, while production on state and private lands grew by 40 percent.
Additionally, states are much more efficient in permitting drilling, Craddick said.
“For example, in Texas, an operator generally may obtain a drilling permit in two to five days. Other states have similar permit processing timeframes,” Craddick said. “I understand that BLM currently takes 180-290 days to process an application for a permit to drill.
“The minimal amount of federal land (1.8 percent) in Texas provides further cause to the impractical nature of the proposed rule for Texas. Other states with hydraulic fracturing operations do have higher percentages of federally owned land,” Craddick said.
Craddick said BLM has failed to note any state with insufficient hydraulic fracturing regulations in place.
“As this proposed rule is duplicative and cumbersome and creates undue cost to operators with no further safeguard to our environment, I stress that this rule is unnecessary in states currently regulating hydraulic fracturing,” Craddick said. “I strongly believe that the proposal will discourage oil and gas production on federal lands in Texas and elsewhere, resulting in a missed opportunity to reduce the staggering national debt and our nation’s reliance on foreign oil.”
Christi Craddick was elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.