DENVER –The Department of Interior released new hydraulic fracturing rules today amid questions over the role oil and gas companies played in their creation. Multiple reports show that the oil and gas industry gained special access to the rulemaking process in recent months. The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Trevor Kincaid that calls into question the Administration’s fracking rule drafting process:
“The oil and gas industry received unparalleled access to policymakers that significantly diluted the ability of these rules to promote responsible fracking that would recognize the terms of those impacted. If families who are dealing with the impacts of fracking had the same access, we may have had a more balanced policy. This is indicative of how the oil industry uses its political muscle to get its way at the expense of federal lands and everyday Americans.”
President Obama’s top energy advisor met with oil and gas lobbyists on more than 20 occasions in 2012 to discuss the proposed fracking rule, but held only four meetings with environmental groups to discuss the subject.
The fracking rule is a needed step towards strengthening safety and transparency for oil and gas development on federal lands. Unfortunately, oil industry lobbyists were granted disproportionate access to the officials, resulting in the watering down of key sections of the rules.