On Friday, the U.S. government released its first regulations for hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling method that involves injecting a mix of water and chemicals into the earth in order to release hydrocarbons from rock formations. The new guidelines apply only to exploration on federal and Native American land.
Wyoming was home to the most oil- and gas-producing acreage on federal lands in fiscal year 2014. More than 4 million acres were producing oil and gas in the state last year. New Mexico came in second, with 3.7 million million acres, followed by Colorado's 1.5 million acres.
Acres Producing Oil and Gas on Federal Land (source: Bureau of Land Management, FY 2014)
- Wyoming: 4,033,994
- New Mexico: 3,727,864
- Colorado: 1,478,105
- Utah: 1,119,366
- Montana: 766,544
- North Dakota: 570,645
- Texas: 162,102
- Oklahoma: 141,496
- Arkansas: 121,558
- Kansas: 109,552
Since 1985, Wyoming has issued the most permits to drill on U.S. government-owned turf by far. It approved 40,360 permits over the last two decades, compared with New Mexico's 28,066 approvals and Utah's 10,957.
In New Mexico, 51 percent of oil and 62 percent of gas was produced on federal land in 2014, according to the state's Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department. Just 11 percent of oil and 15 percent of gas came from private land. The rest was drilled on state-owned land, with a very small percentage coming from Native American territory.