March 25, 2016

This week, the Senate will vote on amendment #414 by Sens. Inhofe and Hatch to the concurrent resolution S. Con. Res. 11, the fiscal year 2016 budget. The amendment would establish a spending-neutral reserve fund to prevent the Interior Department from preempting state law with regard to hydraulic fracturing regulations.

Interior recently finalized regulations that place duplicative, unnecessary requirements on energy development on federal lands. States are already regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands within their borders and have done so successfully for decades. In response, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple has signaled an interest to “take action” against Interior.

The Inhofe-Hatch amendment would allow Congress to revise budget caps to include legislation prohibiting “any preemption of any states’ laws regulating hydraulic fracturing.” Interior has no business preempting state authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing, especially given states’ long and impressive safety record. Even Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has said “fracking has been done safely for decades.”

Interior’s rule represents the latest attempt by the Obama administration to curtail America’s domestic energy boom. Under this administration, energy production on federal lands has languished amid record output on state and private lands. Between 2009 and 2013, oil and natural gas production on non-federal lands soared 61 percent and 33 percent, respectively, while production on federal lands declined by 6 percent and 28 percent respectively according to the Congressional Research Service.

Instead of strangling America’s energy producers, the administration should embrace energy development. A recent study by LSU Professor Joseph Mason finds enormous economic benefits to opening federal lands. Specifically, unlocking federal lands to oil and gas development would generate $2.7 trillion in federal tax revenues over the next thirty-seven years. Such a policy would also create 552,000 jobs annually over the next seven years and almost 2 million jobs annually after that for the next thirty years.

The American Energy Alliance supports this amendment and will include it in our American Energy Scorecard. YES IS THE PRO-ENERGY, PRO-FEDERALISM, AND PRO-HUMAN FLOURISHING VOTE.