Hoeven, Heitkamp, Cramer Call on Interior Secretary Jewell to Exempt North Dakota and Tribes from BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Cramer today urged Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to exempt North Dakota and the state’s tribes from a proposed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) final rule on hydraulic fracturing and to recognize the primacy of states to regulate oil and gas development within its boundaries.

The delegation made the request in a letter sent to Secretary Jewell, noting that the unique geology, technology and innovation of North Dakota’s oil and gas production exemplifies why a one-size-fits-all federal approach to oil and gas regulation does not work. The delegation also noted North Dakota’s successful record managing its energy development safely and with good environmental stewardship. Earlier this month, Jewell traveled to North Dakota with the senators to see North Dakota’s oil and gas production firsthand.

“The federal government should allow states and tribes to continue to move forward with their own sophisticated regulatory framework instead of stifling them with a generic blanket of federal regulations. We believe such federal regulations will hamper innovative approaches being developed throughout the country,” the delegation writes.

“The North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC), made up of the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Agriculture Commissioner, directly oversee and regulate the industry through the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). The NDIC and DMR have already put strong regulations in place requiring operators to disclose the chemicals they use in fracturing activities as well as regulations addressing hydraulic fracture stimulation, well-bore integrity, flowback, and cement bond testing. State oversight and the unique expertise and experience of our regulators resulted in the NDIC approving extensive new rules regarding well completions in 2012. States require this flexibility and primacy in regulating oil and gas production in order to make adjustments based on their expertise and on the ground assessments. The NDIC and DMR are in the best position to determine what regulations are best for oil and gas production in North Dakota,” the letter continues.