If new federal hydraulic fracturing regulations go into effect later this month, North Dakota could potentially lose 1,900 jobs and $300 million annually in oil income, reports the Forum News Service (FNS).
The federal rules set to take effect June 24 include new standards for constructing wells and for disclosing the chemicals used during the hydraulic fracturing process. A preliminary injunction has been filed by North Dakota against the Bureau of Land Management in an attempt to delay the rules from going into effect until the court is able to review a lawsuit filed by North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado. A hearing is scheduled for June 23 in the Casper, Wyoming, U.S. District Court.
As reported by the FNS, North Dakota Industrial Commission member and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem will attend the meeting. He said the federal rule would disrupt North Dakota oil and gas development and result in lost mineral royalties and tax incomes in the next fiscal year. In North Dakota, oil and gas activity on federal lands such as the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation account for roughly 40 percent of overall production. State officials, who favor state regulation, claim the BLM rules would create lengthy permitting delays.
On Wednesday Stenehjem told the FNS, “We simply feel that our rules are better, they are effective and we are much better and much more capable of actually enforcing them than they are.” Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms believes that 10 of 22 companies with major operations on federal and tribal lands would most likely leave the state if the rules are implemented. As a result of this emigration, the state would lose 1,900 jobs and as much as $9.4 billion in royalties and taxes.
In May, Stenehjem, along with the attorney generals of Colorado and Wyoming, asked the Department of Interior to extend the effective date of the new rule while court challenges are considered. The department declined the request, asserting the rules would not hinder the industry and would not discourage oil and gas development. To read the full report, click here.