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Likely Voters Favor Energy Development and State Authority on Public Lands

The American public strongly supports boosting domestic oil and natural gas production and letting states — not the federal government — regulate the use of public lands, according to a recent national survey.

More specifically:

  • 60 percent support increasing energy production on multiple-use public lands (these do not include national parks and wilderness areas).
  • 77 percent support giving states complete or shared authority with the federal government in managing and regulating activities on public lands within their borders.
  • 62 percent say state and local governments, which are flexible and adaptable to local conditions, should have prime authority.
  • 57 percent agree that Congress should overturn the 1975 crude oil export ban allow trade with allied nations.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters was sponsored by Western Energy Alliance, a nonprofit trade association representing more than 450 companies engaged in all aspects of oil and natural gas exploration and production in the U.S. West. Many of these companies are service companies like Summit Casing Equipment. Summit makes its own lines of centralizers and float equipment to service locations throughout the U.S. and in international markets.

“This survey proves that people trust states to make the right decisions,” said Mitchel Hansen, Summit Casing chief operating officer. “That’s one key reason in our recent blog post, we supported recently signed Texas legislation that put fracking regulations squarely in the hands of the state.”

Texas lawmakers, looking to create consistent regulation, passed a law to clean up the patchwork of fracking-related ordinances and local rules that varied across the state. At the same time, the legislation aims to protect personal property rights.

At the same time, voters and organizations like the Western Energy Alliance — have also been quick and vocal in their opposition to federal fracking rules.

“Voters understand that states across the West continually review and update regulations, and that is why there was such visceral reaction to recent federal fracking rules in places like Wyoming, Colorado, and North Dakota,” said Tim Wigley, president of Western Energy Alliance.

When it comes to reversing the export ban, support crosses party lines, but just barely: 65 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of both Democrats and Independents support reversing the ban, Wigley said.

The alliance has conducted the poll annually for the last four years as part of the organization’s efforts to gauge public perception of the oil and gas industry, Kathleen Sgamma, Western Energy Alliance vice president of government and public affairs, told the Daily Times of Farmington, N.M.