Attorney General Pruitt and attorneys general from four other states sent a letter Friday to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, objecting to the agency's intent to duplicate the state's long-standing regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Friday was the deadline to submit comment on the rule.
The letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell outlines the decades of success in state regulation of natural gas exploration and the consequences of the federal government adding a redundant unnecessary layer of regulation.
"States have been regulating hydraulic fracturing for more than 40 years with great success. This proposed rule is just another layer of unnecessary regulation that will cause significant delays and hinder natural gas production," General Pruitt said. "The Supreme Court has made it clear that regulation of water and land use is a state and local power, and no law gives an agency such as the BLM the authority to pre-empt state regulations."
Oklahoma is joined on the six-page letter by Alabama, Alaska, Montana and West Virginia. The action follows a letter sent to President Obama in December by General Pruitt and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, challenging the proposed rule.
In Friday's letter to the Interior Department, the attorneys general detailed requirements under the Clean Water Act, the Federal Land Policy Management Act and the Mineral Leasing Act, giving states primacy in land and water regulation.
"The states – and not the federal government – are best equipped to design, administer and enforce laws and regulations related to oil and gas development," the letter states. "The BLM has failed to justify the need for new federal regulations and requirements that will overlay the existing state programs in a burdensome and costly manner."