Colorado’s Garfield Co. Joins the Growing Wave of Opposition to the Federal Takeover of Safe, Well-Regulated Fracking

Yesterday, the Garfield County commissioners joined the growing list of local and state governments and organizations by officially opposing the so-called FRAC Act in Congress, which would strip states of their rights to effectively regulate hydraulic fracturing — a critical, 60-year energy production technique.

Today’s Grand Junction Sentinel reports this under the headline: “GarCo votes against regs on fracturing by the feds”:

In a decision being cheered by the energy industry and lamented by some area residents, the leading natural-gas-producing county in Colorado has come out against legislation to federally regulate hydraulic fracturing of wells. Garfield County commissioners voted 2–1 Monday in opposition to legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver. The bill would subject fracturing to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and require disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

“Every time the federal government gets involved, the cost goes up,” Samson said. “I know of nothing that the federal government does for us that does not cost money.”

All three commissioners said they heard from numerous constituents regarding the fracturing legislation, and county staff members told commissioners they received thousands of comments.

And under the headline “Garfield County withholds FRAC Act support,” the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports this about yesterday’s vote against the federal take-over and possible outright ban on fracking:

Garfield County commissioners voted this week to oppose federal legislation which would put the oil and gas industry partly under the control of the Environmental Protection Agency. The lone Democrat on the Board of County Commissioners, Trési Houpt, declared her support for what is known as the FRAC (for Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals) Act, introduced in both houses of Congress last summer.

“Do you want to have the federal government come in and tell you what’s going to happen?” he asked the crowd of 25 or so at the meeting, or should it be left to what he called “the local voice”?”

The Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA), a key Energy In Depth partner, released a statement shortly after the vote. In it, COGA writes:

Garfield County today became the ninth Colorado county to formally oppose legislation that would give federal bureaucrats authority over the longstanding drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracing”. Garfield joins Delta, Mesa, Moffat, Morgan, Rio Blanco, Washington, Weld, and Yuma counties among the growing number of Colorado municipalities and organizations to pass language formally opposing HR 2766, Representative Diana DeGette’s so-called “FRAC Act.”

So why are a so many elected officials and energy experts opposing the anti-energy FRAC Act so strongly? Well, without this environmentally responsible technique – which is heavily regulated by the states – clean-burning natural gas trapped thousands of feet below the surface in tight, dense rock formations could not be accessed.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and T. Boone Pickens bring this point home in a recent Grand Junction Sentinel column entitled “Natural gas should be the vehicle fuel of the immediate future.” The pair writes this:

Too often in Congress, and in our political debate, people stake out a position and, in the course of defending that position, refuse to credit anything their opponent is saying. We’ve all seen that. When it comes to passing a clean energy plan for the United States, we need to take a broader, longer look at all of the tools we have at our disposal to accomplish two very important goals: Enhancing national security and reducing our dependency on foreign oil.

With recent improvements in the techniques and technology to recover natural gas from the enormous shale deposits under the continental United States, studies indicate we could have natural gas deposits that would last for more than 100 years. This is a sea-change from what we thought our natural gas reserves were prior to being able to utilize these so-called “shale plays.”

If you favor more stable energy prices and efforts to break America’s dangerous and growing dependence on unstable regions of the world to fuel our economy, send Congress the message that the anti-domestic energy FRAC Act must be stopped.

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