Chairman Hastings' Op-Ed in The Daily Caller: Protecting the States’ Right to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing


WASHINGTON, D.C., November 20, 2013 -

Protecting the States’ Right to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing
By House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings
The Daily Caller
11/19/2013

Hardworking American families have long been feeling the effects of anemic economic growth, unemployment that’s been too high for too long, and energy prices that should not be the new normal. There’s no doubt that it’s time for change. It’s time to end the Obama administration’s constant attacks on American energy production and put in place real solutions that will allow our Nation to fully utilize our natural energy resources.

This week, the House will consider H.R. 2728, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act. This responsible, bipartisan legislation protects American jobs and energy production by stopping the federal government from imposing duplicative and onerous regulations on hydraulic fracturing.

The Obama administration’s Department of the Interior will soon finalize new regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands that would add costly and unnecessary layers of red tape. According to a study by John Dunham & Associates, the proposed regulation would cost at least $345 million annually.

The proposed regulation also completely ignores the diligent, historic work that is already being done by states. Hydraulic fracturing has been in use for over 60 years in over one million wells. For decades, this process has been successfully and effectively regulated by the states that are most responsive and have the most at stake.

Several Obama administration officials, like former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and former Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey, have admitted to Congress that there has not been one instance of groundwater contamination resulting from hydraulic fracturing. Even Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell admitted that this process is safe saying, “I think that there’s a lot of misinformation about fracking. I think that it’s part of the industry’s job to make sure that the public understands what it is, how it’s done, and why it’s safe.” The administration’s proposed federal hydraulic fracturing rules are a solution in search of a problem.

But that hasn’t stopped the Obama administration from moving forward with an ill-conceived one-size-fits-all federal regulation on hydraulic fracturing. While states have carefully crafted environmentally responsible regulations to meet their unique geologic and hydrologic needs, it’s perfectly reasonable that hydraulic fracturing regulations in Wyoming would be different than those in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Texas.

H.R. 2728 recognizes that each state knows what regulations work best for them and prevents the federal government from wasting time, money and resources duplicating their efforts. The bill would prohibit the Interior Department from imposing federal regulations in states that already have regulations in place.

Last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced that in October the United States produced more crude oil than it imported – levels not seen since 1989 — and the United States is producing more natural gas than ever. This level of energy production could not have been reached without hydraulic fracturing.

Across America, communities are experiencing the benefits of this technology. In North Dakota’s Bakken Shale region, the economy is growing rapidly. Unemployment stands at three percent – far below the national unemployment rate of 7.3 percent. Housing construction can’t keep up with demand. Also because of this energy renaissance, North Dakota is the second largest oil producing state in America – second only to Texas.

Unfortunately, this hydraulic fracturing activity is happening on state lands – not federal. And the Obama administration’s new regulations would deter American energy production on federal lands. This only hurts hardworking American families and small businesses that are struggling to make ends meet in President Obama’s economy.

According to a study by IHS, shale oil and natural gas activity contributed over 1.7 million jobs in 2012 and saved American families $100 per month in the form of lower energy bills. Hydraulic fracturing has the potential to dramatically grow our economy and put more money back into the pockets American families by lowering energy prices. We should not lose out on the opportunity to experience this success on our federal lands.

H.R. 2728 will ensure that federal red-tape does not stifle American energy production and job creation and rightly allow states to continue to effectively and safely regulate hydraulic fracturing for the good of our economy.

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