API-IPAA Comments on FWS' National wildlife Refuge System Proposed Rulemaking
API-IPAA comments on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's proposed rulemaking regarding non-federal oil and gas development Within the National Wildlife Refuge System.
A rulemaking is premature. Questions linger regarding FWS’ authority to regulate development within refuge boundaries. To be clear, mineral owners have the legal right to explore for and extract oil and gas from their mineral estates, a fact FWS recognizes.2 Mineral rights represent a dominant estate, taking precedence over other rights associated with property, including surface rights.3 As a result, FWS is limited in its authority to inhibit operations, including horizontal drilling from private lands, to access minerals under a refuge, and we would expect FWS to adhere to the legal bounds of its authority.
File Size: .3 MB