The National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Corn Refiners Association, the Fertilizer Institute, the Industrial Minerals Association - North America, the Natural Gas Supply Association, the National Industrial Sand Association, and SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association (collectively, “the Associations”) submit the following comments in response to the Department of the Interior (“DOI”), Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) proposed rule on Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation for oil and gas production activities on onshore Federal and Indian leases (“Proposed Rule”). According to the BLM, the Proposed Rule would “require operators to limit waste of gas through flaring and venting, clarify the situations in which flared gas would be subject to royalties, conform the royalty terms applicable to competitive leases with the corresponding statutory language, and clarify the on-site uses of gas that are exempt from royalties” and “require operators to record and report information related to venting and flaring of gas.
There are abundant oil and natural gas resources in the United States and the Associations support policies that promote the leasing, exploration and development of the nation's oil and natural gas resources in a responsible manner, balancing environmental protection and economic impacts. Major advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies have made the extraction of shale gas and oil more cost-effective and technologically feasible. Development of these massive new deposits of oil and gas has greatly improved the current and future outlook for energy in the U.S. and has made the nation more energy secure.
The impacts of regulations like the Proposed Rule do not occur in a vacuum for the Associations’ members, but rather are felt collectively in the form of higher energy prices, greater challenges in obtaining necessary environmental permits and threats to international competitiveness from higher operating costs. Often, the negative impacts of overly burdensome regulations compound each other. For example, and in the context of the Proposed Rule, the burdens and additional costs potentially imposed may result in the curtailing of oil and gas production on Federal and Indian lands. Land under BLM management and regulation accounts for 11 percent of the Nation’s natural gas supply and five percent of its oil supply.