Already planted firmly on the side of states’ rights advocates in the debate about regulating hydraulic fracturing (fracking), Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said Thursday he thinks the Republican Party platform and presidential candidate Mitt Romney recognize that the states must play a key role in the nation’s energy policy.
During a press conference in which he was peppered with questions about his impressions of the Republican National Convention, which he attended the end of August, Mead threw his support behind Romney, with whom he said he has talked, and his party’s energy platform.
In response to a question that he said he has answered in interviews in Washington, DC, and elsewhere, Mead again described the fracking issue as a good example of where he thinks the federal government needs to defer to states.
“The federal government now believes it needs to regulate hydraulic fracturing because it is a serious enough issue,” said Mead. “Why are they two years late?” Mead has helped lead the support for the Republican Governors’ Association’s 29-page energy blueprint, which stresses that the states need have a lead role in fracking (see Shale Daily, Aug. 29).
“States can act more rapidly [on issues like fracking], and if we get it wrong, we can cure it more quickly,” Mead said. “We have an incentive beyond what the federal government has to make sure our environment stays healthy in our backyard, and that is important; that is what the state does.”
He said that rather than a “cookie cutter approach” to the same rules for all states, there should be a test of what the impacts of that approach might be. Fracking is a prime example for Wyoming. “If you’re a state that has already done it [established rules for fracking], there is a terrible disincentive after we have been proactive for the federal government to come along and preempt our rules.”
In addition, Mead said the fracking debate has proven that a “uniform rule” is needed. To have a different set of rules for federal and state lands, and then have something happen, would be counterproductive, he said. “Companies coming in will say, ‘which rules do we follow?’ And if there is a conflict, they won’t know which to follow. That delays everything.”
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