On March 26, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published in the Federal Register a final rule entitled, “Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands” (2015 final rule). The BLM is now proposing to rescind the 2015 final rule because we believe it is unnecessarily duplicative of state and some tribal regulations and imposes burdensome reporting requirements and other unjustified costs on the oil and gas industry. This proposed rule would return the affected sections of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to the language that existed immediately before the published effective date of the 2015 final rule.
On March 28, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13783, entitled, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” (82 FR 16093, Mar. 31, 2017), which directed the Secretary of the Interior to review four specific rules, including the 2015 final rule, for consistency with the order's objective “to promote clean and safe development of our Nation's vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth and prevent job creation” and, as appropriate, take action to lawfully suspend, revise, or rescind those rules that are inconsistent with the policy set forth in Executive Order 13783. To implement Executive Order 13783, Secretary of the Interior Ryan K. Zinke issued Secretarial Order No. 3349 entitled, “American Energy Independence” on March 29, 2017, which, among other things, directed the BLM to proceed expeditiously in proposing to rescind the 2015 final rule. Upon further review of the 2015 final rule, as directed by Executive Order 13783, and Secretarial Order No. 3349, the BLM believes that the 2015 final rule unnecessarily burdens industry with compliance costs and information requirements that are duplicative of regulatory programs of many states and some tribes. As a result, we are proposing to rescind, in its entirety, the 2015 final rule.