“YES” on the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act

This week, the House will vote on the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act (H.R. 2728).  Introduced by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Bill Flores74%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard74%, the bill would help promote American jobs and energy creation by limiting the regulations from the Administration on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” a process used to extract oil and natural gas.  The bill prohibits the Interior Department from enforcing federal hydraulic fracturing regulations in any state that already has regulations and recognizes states’ authority to regulate this type of activity. 

The Heritage Foundation explains that fracking produces massive benefits and poses minimal risk.  For example, they note that according to “a 2012 report from the economic consulting firm IHS Global Insight, unconventional shale oil and gas alone supports more than 1.7 million jobs, which is expected to increase to 3 million jobs as soon as 2020.”  They add that “80 percent of new natural gas wells drilled domestically in the next decade will require fracking.”

Increased energy production will result in “lower energy prices and cost savings through cheaper goods and services.”  Heritage notes:

Increased manufacturing employment in the United States is largely taking place because of abundantly cheap fracked natural gas, which has made American companies more competitive and attracted international businesses to expand in the U.S.

Despite the boon to the economy that fracking would supply, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is “working to finalize a rule that would put in place more stringent federal regulations for hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) on federal and Indian lands.” The states are fully capable of regulating fracking, as they have done for over 60 years.  The states have developed their own effective regulatory regime, which includes chemical disclosure, groundwater protection, and wastewater management.

Federal regulations are often duplicative of state regulations or overly burdensome to states.  BLM regulation proposes that states meet or exceed the federal government’s minimum standards, which would “remove the state regulators’ flexibility and specialized knowledge of their geographic surroundings requiring minimum standards that are more stringent and rigid than industry best practices and state regulations.” These burdensome regulations would pose additional costs to the states and new hurdles the fracking industry will have to face.  For example:

BLM’s projection that the regulation will add an additional $3,000–$5,000 in cost to each well omits or underestimates the new hurdles the industry will have to face. Independent analysis projects that cost will be closer to $100,000 per well, and that cost will come without any meaningful environmental benefit, since the process has proven to be safe.

H.R. 2728 would maintain the states’ ability to regulate fracking, which they have effectively done for decades, without burdensome, excessive, and costly federal regulation.

Heritage Action supports the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act and will include it as a vote on our legislative scorecard.

Related links:
Heritage Action Scorecard
Heritage: Protecting the States’ Ability to Regulate Fracking