This week, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing to discuss the role and impact of federal regulations on American energy production. While oil and natural gas development has been effectively regulated by the states for over a century, new federal regulations seek to undermine development and hamstring production on federal lands. And as states such as Oklahoma and Ohio strengthen their oil and natural gas regulations – meeting the ranks of Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Arkansas and others – the need for additional federal regulations has diminished significantly.
The reality is that increased federal involvement stands to inflict duplicative and unnecessary burdens on our nation’s independent energy producers, placing our energy security and economy at risk. As state regulators have noted time and again, the states – each home to a unique geology, hydrology, and topography – are the best equipped to effectively regulate oil and natural gas production. But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what the local officials actually said this week:
Michael Krancer, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection:
- “There is no question that states can do and are doing a better job regulating the oil and gas extraction technique of hydraulic fracturing within their borders than the federal government could do…The states are light-years ahead of the federal government in terms of experience and know-how about their own individual states and about the science and technique of hydraulic fracturing,” he said. “I can tell you unequivocally that the federal government could not have implemented and executed what we have done, and done very well, right here in Pennsylvania,” Krancer said. (NGI Shale Daily, 5/31/12 [subs. req’d])
Michael McKee, county commissioner, Uintah County, Utah
- “States have successfully regulated hydraulic fracturing for over sixty years. Given the states’ exemplary safety record, new federal mandates are not necessary. The proposed rule would add a redundant, burdensome and costly layer of federal approval for routine oil and gas operations of federal public lands, and threatens to usurp state authority in a field already well-managed by state regulators…We are concerned when there is an overreach of federal regulation to try to fix something that isn’t broken. In fact, its’ not even limping. Fracing is already heavily regulated at the state level, but new regulations will seriously disadvantage western states compared to other regions of the county.”
Lori Wrotenbery, director, Oil and Gas Conservation Division, Oklahoma Corporation and board member of STRONGER
- “Recent technological developments have given us access to oil and gas resources held tightly in shale and other deep geologic formations. We welcome this new opportunity. We also recognize the challenges it presents…To address these challenges, states across the nation are actively reviewing and updating their regulatory standards and procedures to ensure that oil and gas drilling and production operations are conducted safely. States are also continually testing, evaluating, and strengthening the mechanism they have in place to develop, implement, and enforce sound regulations.”
For over a century, our nation has safely and effectively produced oil and natural gas while maintaining the health of our environment and communities. As new technologies emerge, states are ready and able to adapt and alter their regulations to ensure this record of safety continues. With no proven cases of hydraulic fracturing impacting groundwater – a fact Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson states herself –the need for increased federal regulations on a proven technology are simply redundant.
In case you aren’t convinced, here’s what others are saying across the nation:
Fred Krupp of Environmental Defense Fund supports state regulations. “Given the dysfunction in D.C., a state-by-state approach will be more effective,” he said. “We need to focus on getting the rules right, and complied with, in the 14 states which have 85 percent of the onshore gas reserves.” (Wall Street Journal, 3/5/12)
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says states doing a good job. “States are stepping up and doing a good job. It doesn’t have to be EPA that regulates the 10,000 wells that might go in.” (Politco, 11/22/12)
Pennsylvania Strengthens Natural Gas Drilling Regulations. “A new Pennsylvania law that soon goes into effect will require natural gas drillers to comply with stricter environmental sustainability and transparency measures. The law, called Act 13, was signed by Governor Tom Corbett in February of this year and goes into effect on April 16th. Under Act 13, operators will be required to abide by new provisions that include increased setbacks from waterways and buildings; limited floodplain development; and increased time and distance stipulation…Companies must also register their hydraulic fracturing fluid ingredients with Fracfocus.org, a transparency initiative created by the Groundwater Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, which are both state-level governmental organizations.” (AOL Energy, 4/5/12)
Oklahoma Becomes Sixth State To Pass Fracking Disclosure Law. Oklahoma has become the sixth state to impose fracking disclosure rules on the oil and gas industry. As of July 1, oil and natural gas companies must disclose the chemicals used when hydraulically fracturing rock to extract oil and gas . The state’s disclosure law places it in league with other energy-rich states currently experiencing a rash of oil and natural gas production thanks to advances in drilling techniques. Texas, Wyoming, Arkansas, Colorado and Pennsylvania have previously signed hydraulic disclosure laws. (International Business Times, 5/29/12)