Hoeven: Interior Department Begins Process to Roll Back Methane, Hydraulic Fracturing Rules and Rescind the Moratorium on Federal Coal Leasing

Senator Joins Sec. Zinke in Implementing Orders to Promote Domestic Energy Production

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy Committee, today joined Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to begin implementing the President’s executive order promoting domestic energy production. Secretary Zinke signed orders reviewing, revising and rescinding the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) duplicative regulations for methane and hydraulic fracturing on federal lands, and rescinding the moratorium on federal coal leasing.

“We appreciate that Secretary Zinke is working to restore regulatory certainty for our nation’s energy producers,” said Hoeven. “Rolling back the methane rule and hydraulic fracturing regulations will ensure that we don’t have duplicative regulations causing uncertainty and preventing economic growth. Restoring a states-first approach to regulating energy development will enable us to develop our state’s unique energy resources and to do so with good environmental stewardship.”

BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule 

The Interior Department began the process of unwinding the BLM’s regulation for hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells on federal lands. The BLM’s rule is duplicative with state regulations, which creates unnecessary delays and increased costs. Hoeven pressed the previous Administration to work with states to remove overlapping regulation and provide greater regulatory certainty for the nation’s energy producers.

According to Hoeven, “North Dakota is best suited to regulate hydraulic fracturing in our State, rather than a federal, one-size-fits-all approach. We are leading the way forward in oil production with new technologies that produce more energy with better environmental stewardship.”

BLM Methane Rules

The Secretary’s order begins the process of reviewing and rescinding the BLM methane rule, which is duplicative and creates conflict within the regulatory process. This regulatory uncertainty imposes unnecessary costs for the nation’s energy producers. Hoeven has called for the BLM and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow states to take the lead in the regulatory process to reduce natural gas flaring and to address the BLM’s backlog in permit applications for gas gathering infrastructure. While today’s action begins efforts to stop the rule, Hoeven continues working to pass a Congressional Review Act (CRA) to rescind the methane rule permanently to more expeditiously stop the duplicative rule. 

“Today we began the process of removing duplicative methane regulations and allowing states to take the lead in the regulatory process. This regulatory certainty, along with a better permitting process to encourage investment in natural gas gathering systems, is the right approach, a states-first approach, to help us produce more energy with better environmental stewardship for the American people,” said Hoeven.

Rescind the Moratorium on Federal Coal Leasing 

Secretary Zinke also moved today to rescind the moratorium on federal coal leasing and reestablish the Royalty Policy Committee to provide greater transparency in royalty and leasing policy for energy production on federal and tribal lands. The moratorium made continuing operations and planning both more difficult and more expensive for energy companies, causing the loss of good jobs.

“Again, it’s just commonsense for the federal government to continue leasing coal on its lands. These lands are often intertwined with private lands, so the moratorium not only costs taxpayers money, but it also unfairly disenfranchises private mineral owners who are held up by the moratorium as well as raising energy costs for consumers,” said Hoeven.