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Colo. Papers Side With Governor, Oppose DeGette-Casey One-Size-Fits All Anti-Fracking Bill

Last week, when Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) told an energy conference organized by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, that he “encouraged Congresswoman DeGette to consider authorizing a comprehensive study of [hydraulic fracturing] instead of going directly to a new and potentially intrusive regulatory program,” Colorado newspapers, including the states largest daily publication, the Denver Post, took notice.

From today’s Post editorial:

  • “The vigorous debate over hydraulic fracturing – an oil and gas extraction technique – has raised an important question that must be answered before federal lawmakers consider additional regulation. In short, has the process of pumping fracturing fluid into the ground to release oil and gas contaminated drinking water? Gov. Bill Ritter this week urged U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, to take her foot off the accelerator on regulatory efforts, suggesting further study first. We think that’s a prudent policy move.

Other papers are taking notice as well, and starting to ask tough questions about whether Rep. DeGette is trying to put the cart before the horse in promoting both a new study of hydraulic fracturing, and legislation to impose unprecedented new regulation on it. Put another way: Shouldn’t legislation, if pursued at all, come AFTER the issue is studied in greater depth? And not before? Not to put too fine a point on it, how can you claim to give a hoot about what a study might say about the efficacy of the current law if you’ve already committed yourself to re-writing it?

As usual, the Grand Junction paper picks up on this important theme as well:

Grand Junction Sentinel, Editorial: “A Democratic fracture over fracking

  • “Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter is at odds with Congresswoman Diana DeGette and other Democrats in Congress over the need for federal legislation to regulate chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, a process used to improve the recovery of oil and gas from wells. Ritter, reasonably enough, thinks DeGette’s proposed legislation could be an impediment to the development of our natural gas and is largely unnecessary because new state rules address fracking chemicals. We’re with the governor on this. Several federal studies under both Republican and Democratic administrations found no link between fracking chemicals and contamination of drinking water. That’s why it was excluded from the federal Safe Water Drinking Act in the first place.

 

  • “Furthermore, it makes sense, as Ritter said he told DeGette, to let each state develop the rules it believes best suits its needs rather than adopt one-size-fits-all federal regulations. DeGette, unfortunately, seems committed to pushing her fracking legislation, regardless of what the governor and local government officials in Colorado want.

 

  • “But we’re glad to see Ritter is willing to stand up to a senior member of his party in Colorado, and tell DeGette that her fracking bill is the wrong prescription for this state.”
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