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Why we need a strong BLM fracking rule that covers every state with federal oil and gas leases

Amy Mall

Posted September 11, 2013

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North Dakota's senators have sent a letter to the BLM asking that their state be exempted from any new federal fracking rules. They said that "North Dakota's successful record in managing its energy development is becoming a model for the nation."

Yet last week it was reported that North Dakota had 23 well blowouts in the past 12 months. That's not a model that should be replicated anywhere else. After two big blowouts last year, North Dakota oil companies promised to develop a list of best practices to improve well safety that might be the basis for new regulations. The industry has not yet concluded this work, even though the oil and gas industry has already published dozens of best practices for well safety.

There doesn't seem to be any strong evidence that North Dakota, or other states, have rules and enforcement strong enough to ensure protection of drinking water sources and other important natural resources. This is why we need a strong BLM fracking rule in place for federal oil and gas leases in every state where they exist. NRDC blogs have the details on what is needed to improve the BLM's proposal.

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Michael BerndtsonSep 11 2013 05:55 PM

This is interesting. North Dakota, a lovely state populated with the world's best people. Hardy people. Some of my best friends live in North Dakota. Living solely on hard work, pluck and bootstrapping. With that said, on a per capita basis they receive a lot of money from the federal government. ND for 2012 received $11,429 per person. This compares to Florida at $27,345 and my state: the great state of Illinois, the prairie state, the land of Lincoln received $5,349 per resident. I'm not sure what's going on in Florida. California for instance received $6,809 per person in 2012.

The details are presented here:

Not all of that federal money sent from the feds went to bootstrap manufacturing startups, with an expected return on investment. Much came from DOD and DHS. For what purposes it's hard to tell. Some of the federal money seemed to come from DOI for managing the Missouri River watershed.

If a private enterprise (i.e. Oil and Gas) uses water retained in a state made available by federal taxes (i.e. dams and distribution), one would think that that state should also comply with federal environmental regulations on federal lands. No? I do not want to hear any explanation having to do with freedoms, energy for the city effete, affordable gasoline, or beet sugar.

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