On November 20, the U.S. House of Representatives began floor debate on a bill giving state law primacy over federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing on federal lands: H.R. 2728 (“Protecting States’ Rights and Preventing Federal Red Tape on American Energy Act”). The day before the House began debate on H.R. 2728, however, the White House asserted that, “[i]f the President were presented with H.R. 2728, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.” (Statement of Administration Policy).

H.R. 2728 would displace federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in states that that regulate the practice under state law, even if the state’s regulation is less restrictive than the federal law. It was introduced by Representative Bill Flores (R-TX), who is a member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

In its statement opposing the bill, the White House claimed that the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management “has been working in close consultation with States and Tribes,” but asserted that the Department of Interior would not “to defer to existing State regulation on hydraulic fracturing on Federal lands . . . .” The White House claimed that “uniform” and “consistent” regulation of hydraulic fracturing is essential for environmental protection on federal lands.