This is a tale of two regulatory schemes.
First, there is the federal way, and I’m not making this up: In my last post we learned that if the BLM, when preparing its PRMP/FEIS (which in some incomprehensible way is different from a PRMP/EIS, but which nevertheless includes an RFD) which is issued by an EA and adopted by a ROD, but which will be subject to further analysis at the APD stage, evaluates a non-NSO lease to be sold along with NSO leases within the HFO boundary pursuant to the NEPA, the MLA of 1920, and the FLMPA, and does not have its FONZI well in hand in analyzing the context and intensity of the proposed action under the factors set forth by the CEQ, then because the activity will affect T&E species, the BLM could be sued in accordance with the APA under jurisdiction imposed by 13 U.S.C. 1331, and be thereby exposed to an MSJ which, if granted as in that case, will result in a SNAFU, which one should expect in these situations, but which could also be a dilatory, hair-pulling, budget-busting, futility-inducing FUBAR. OMG!
And according to Michael Mills, a California environmental lawyer, California legislators are pushing to ban fracking altogether, at least for now. (Query: When will “now” be over?). According to Mr. Mills, other bills in the California legislature propose regulation of fracking.
Now the Texas way: One example of a simpler approach to regulation is SB 873 by Senator Glen Hegar, in the Lesiglalture, which is to clarify ambiguities in the permitting process for wells used in oil and gas drilling activities. These wells are regulated by the Railroad Commission and there is confusion about whether fracking is exempt from permitting bythe state’s hundreds of water improvement districts. If fracking is “drilling or exploration”, then it is exempt from permitting. If it is oil and gas “producton”, then a district can require a permit. The bill clarifes the confusion, allows local control over the permitting process, and will protect water sources.
Another example: SB 1747 by Senator Carlos Uresti. This bill allows counties to set up transporation reinvestment zones. Increased revenues from county property and sale taxes will be dedicated to repair and maintain roads and other infrastucture degraded by increased oil and gas activity.
These proposals are efficient, focused to address particular problems, and do not impose more bureaucracy on operators. In contrast, federal regulations appear overwrought, byzantine and bureaucratic. Why, I wonder?
Consider the recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. Texas embraces development of its natural resources, as does Louisiana. California prefers Solyndra and algae.