Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) has introduced a bill that would further delay action on the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed rule governing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) activities on public and Indian lands until Interior Secretary Ken Salazar submits a report examining the effects of the rule.

Specifically, the legislation (HR 6235) would require the department to conduct a study of the effects that the proposed rule would have on the development and production of oil and natural gas on federal and Indian lands; the impacts on royalty revenue to the U.S. Treasury; the staffing and other resource demand required to enforce the regulation; and potential conflicts with existing state and federal regulations. The preliminary report will be subject to a 120-day comment period, which will then be followed by a final report.

“If the Obama administration wants to continue to derail safe and efficient domestic energy production, then they must be transparent in their actions and reasoning,” Flores said.

“This…new rule, as originally proposed by BLM, would have significant negative consequences for American energy security and job growth…There is no need for a federal one-size-fits-all regulation on activity that is already being effectively regulated by the states,” he said. State regulators and the oil and gas industry contend that fracking should remain under the sole jurisdiction of the states. A number of states require that producers disclose the fluids used in their fracking operations to develop shale gas.

In May BLM proposed a rule that would allow producers to wait until their fracking operations are completed to disclose the chemicals that were used (see Shale Daily, May 7). The initial draft would have required the reporting of chemicals at least 30 days before a well stimulation could begin, which producers said would have delayed drilling operations (see Shale Daily, Feb. 6). The revision was favored by industry, but drew the ire of environmentalists.

In early July the BLM extended the comment period for its proposed fracking rule till Sept. 10 (see Shale Daily, July 12).

The Western Energy Alliance estimates that the proposed fracking rule will cost society $1.499 billion to $1.615 billion per year.