Democratic News

Washington, D.C. — Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden asked the Department of the Interior to ensure oil and natural gas production on public lands is done in an environmentally responsible manner, in a letter sent today to top environmental officials in the Obama Administration.

The Administration is in the process of revising a proposed rule developed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public lands. The BLM first proposed the rule in May 2012 and received almost 60,000 comments.

Wyden has strongly supported the use of new supplies of cleaner-burning natural gas to boost U.S. manufacturing, cut greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low-carbon economy, calling it a “strategic advantage.” However, common-sense protections are also necessary, he wrote.

 “It is my hope the Administration will use this opportunity to propose a rule that ensures the protection of public health and the environment when oil and gas is produced on public lands,” Wyden wrote in the letter.

 Wyden laid out broad areas Interior should address in the final rule.

 “A properly constructed rule with sound requirements for public disclosure, well integrity, and monitoring, will set a standard that both state and international governments can look to as a model for developing oil and gas resources in an environmentally responsible way,” Wyden wrote.

The BLM manages federal energy leasing on more than 750 million acres of federal and Indian subsurface estate. In 2012, the bureau reported having more than 48,000 active oil and gas leases covering nearly 38 million acres in 34 different states.