Kristina Baum – 202.224.6176
Donelle Harder – 202.224.1282



WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today criticized the Obama Administration’s hydraulic fracturing rule announced today by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), calling it “unnecessary” and “duplicative.” In anticipation of the announcement, Inhofe introduced Thursday evening  S.828, “The Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act," which would recognize hydraulic fracturing as a commercial practice and keep regulations under state management.


“The Obama Administration’s rule on hydraulic fracturing adds unnecessary, duplicative red tape that will in turn make it more costly and arduous for our nation to pursue energy security,” Inhofe said. “While I am glad to see the federal government endorse, the rule as a whole fails to acknowledge that states have led the way in safely and effectively regulating hydraulic fracturing. Since 1949, my state of Oklahoma has led the way on hydraulic fracturing regulations, and just like the rest of the nation, we have yet to see an instance of ground water contamination.  The past 60 years have proven that states are in the best position to understand their unique geologies and to determine what their energy needs are and what regulations are necessary to support and protect their communities.  Even Sec. Sally Jewell has said fracking has been done safely for many, many years.’  This is why I have introduced legislation with the support of 26 Senators to ensure states, and not the federal government, will continue to have the sole authority in regulating hydraulic fracturing.  Our nation has experience an energy renaissance primarily due to the practice of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which has created well-paying jobs and strengthened our economy and national security.  There is no logical reason to add a new layer of top-down bureaucratic regulation that duplicates what is already being done effectively by the states.  This is simply an assault of energy production on federal lands, which is already struggling significantly compared to private lands under this administration.  Federal lands should be an important source for resources and revenue generation for the United States as part of a greater strategy to ensure energy independence for the next generation.”


The FRESH Act would declare that States have the sole authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on all land within the boundaries of the States. Companies with hydraulic fracturing operations on federal lands would continue to be responsible to comply with the applicable state laws.


Original co-sponsors of the bill are Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Michael Lee (R-Utah), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mitch McConell (R-Ky.), Jon Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).  


The text of the bill highlights a 2004 study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), entitled “Evaluation of Impacts of Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs," found no evidence of drinking water wells contaminated by fracture fluid from the fracked formation. On May 24, 2011, before the Oversight Government Reform Committee of the House of Representatives, Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency at the time, testified that she was “not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.” In 2011, Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey stated, “We have not seen evidence of any adverse effect as a result of the use of the chemicals that are part of that fracking technology.”


States have been recognized for their forward thinking on hydraulic fracturing regulations.  On Oct. 1, 2014, the Ground Water Protection Council and State Oil and Gas Regulatory Exchange released a report entitled, “State Oil and Gas Regulations Designed to Protect Water Resources” that describes the cutting edge of state-based oil and gas regulations. The report concludes: “In step with dramatic industry growth over the past five years, states have substantially improved groundwater protection laws and regulations governing oil and natural gas production.”