DeGette / Hinchey Legislation Seeks to Eliminate Critical Tool in Producing Clean, American Energy

Could result in lost jobs, lost revenue, greater dependence on foreign energy

WASHINGTON, DC – In a move that recent studies suggest could result in thousands of lost jobs, billions in foregone taxpayer revenue, and massive amounts of American energy left in the ground, U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), along with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in the Senate, today introduced companion legislation seeking to impose new restrictions on a safe and commonly used energy technology known as hydraulic fracturing – an essential technique for extracting hard-to-reach domestic energy while limiting disturbance to land.

“The legislation introduced in Congress today is based on the notion that hydraulic fracturing is unsafe, unregulated, and that it benefits from a special exemption to federal law. Not a single one of these premises are true,” said Lee Fuller, policy director for Energy In Depth, a new American oil and natural gas industry coalition formed to provide real information about energy development to the public and policymakers.

“What is true,” continued Fuller, “is that hydraulic fracturing has been used for more than 60 years to access and produce oil and gas resources that would have otherwise remained trapped under miles of rock — and that it’s been regulated assiduously by the states for at least that long.”

At its core, the DeGette legislation seeks to rescind key provisions of existing federal law clarifying Congress’s intent as it relates to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974, legislation aimed at protecting public water supplies. In 1974, hydraulic fracturing had already been in commercial use for 25 years. At no time during its deliberation, nor in subsequent debates on amendments to SDWA in 1980, 1986 and 1996, was the concept of regulating hydraulic fracturing under SDWA ever a consideration.

The reason? Hydraulic fracturing was then, and continues to be now, aggressively regulated by the states, compiling an impressive record of safety and performance over that time..  More than 60 years after its first commercial use, not a single case of hydraulic fracturing-related contamination has been documented by federal or state government analyses. In fact, a landmark 2004 study conducted by EPA found that hydraulic fracturing posed “no threat” to underground drinking water supplies.

Click here to view the House bill; here for the Senate. For more information, visit

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