Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead appealed to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Thursday for more time to review the proposed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rules on hydraulic fracturing (fracking). In a letter to the Obama administration cabinet member, Mead asked for an extension of the comment period on the draft BLM rules.

Echoing his comments from the past, Mead told Salazar he opposes the proposed federal rules, contending that they duplicate what Wyoming already has in place. He asked for a 90-day extension for the comment period based on a recent study that showed more than $1.4 billion in economic impacts to the oil/gas industry could be caused by the rules.

"The state needs time to adequately assess how the proposed rules will impact [us], for example, Wyoming's state budget, local government funding and jobs," Mead said.

BLM earlier this year drafted proposed rules governing fracking as applied to oil/gas drilling on federal and Native American tribal lands (see Shale Daily, April 9).

"Wyoming's rules address well bore integrity and flowback water, require disclosure of hydraulic fracturing constituents and are applied on federal, private and state lands," Mead said. "The BLM has not expressed any concern about the adequacy of Wyoming's regulatory structure in protecting public health, safety and the environment."

Mead appealed to Salazar for BLM not to duplicate his state's regulations or impose "duplicate regulations."

Noting that the federal rulemaking process can take on a "life of its own," Mead said once the process builds momentum there is little time allowed to reflect on whether the proposed rules are really needed. "While the negative effects of a [federal] rule may be enormous, such consequences are not fully considered."

Mead recently cited an industry study projecting that economic impacts from the proposed rules could run between $1.499 billion and $1.615 billion. Mead said in his letter that he hoped to meet with Salazar in Washington, DC, in July during the National Governor's Association meetings.