ICYMI – Rep. DeGette Withdraws Potentially Destructive Amendment Targeting Hydraulic Fracturing

Chairman Waxman: “I would ask that you withdraw the amendment at this time … Now is not the right time for this change.”

Energy In Depth

“A proposed amendment to rewrite the Safe Drinking Water Act that may be considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee today could have “serious consequences” for hydraulic fracturing, a key technology used for decades to extract natural gas from shale formations, Energy In Depth executive director Lee Fuller warned in a letter to chairman Henry Waxman, D-CA, and ranking member Joe Barton, R-TX. … “As it relates to the composition of fluids commonly used in the fracturing process today, it’s important to note that greater than 99.5 percent of the mixture is comprised of water and playground sand,” Fuller said in the letter.” (Washington Examiner, 5/25/10)

“The oil and gas industry opposes DeGette’s legislation. In a letter sent to lawmakers Tuesday, Lee O. Fuller, VP of government affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, argues that fracturing is safe and has been sufficiently monitored by state-level regulators such as the Texas Railroad Commission: The fact is, hydraulic fracturing has been ably and aggressively regulated by the states almost since the moment of its invention, with regulators compiling an impressive record of enforcement and oversight during that time.” (Dallas Morning News, 5/25/10)

“States would have to sacrifice other functions to generate the information,” Fuller wrote. “Of course, if they choose not to do that, states would have to give up their regulatory responsibilities under [the Safe Drinking Water Act] and turn those functions over to EPA. Not only would this burden EPA — since it is not staffed with the capabilities to undertake daily regulatory responsibilities — but it would also lead to duplicative regulations.” (E&E News, 5/25/10)

“It’s a record that continues to be acknowledged by regulators and lawmakers on the federal level as well, most recently by EPA’s director of drinking water protection, who told a reporter in February that there existed “no evidence” that “states aren’t doing a good job already” when it comes to regulating fracturing activities.” (Letter, 5/25/10)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

“For the past 60 years, hydraulic fracturing has been safely and effectively regulated by the states. Oil and gas companies already provide full chemical disclosure in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations. In contrast to the assertions on which this amendment is premised, these materials are well known to state regulators and information about them are generally available to members of the public by request to the state.

“More importantly, Rep. DeGette’s amendment could reduce oil and gas production in the United States. … The loss of these new and innovative products would mean greatly reduced oil and gas production in the United States, greater reliance on imports, and the loss of high-paying jobs.

“This amendment would do nothing more than add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy that would stifle domestic energy production, increase energy costs for American consumers and small businesses, and potentially force U.S. manufacturing overseas. At a time when the United States is trying to become energy independent, fight an ailing economy, and put Americans back to work, now, more than ever, is the time to harness the power of proven technologies that will develop American energy resources.” (Letter, 5/25/10)

National Association of Manufacturers

“The amendment … is expected to include language taken from H.R. 2766, and will seek to rewrite the Safe Drinking Water Act in a manner that will limit energy producers’ ability to deploy a key technology, known as hydraulic fracturing, which is needed to access abundant energy resources from shale formations onshore.

“Manufacturers rely on natural gas not only as a source of electricity, but as a feedstock for products such as plastics, fertilizer and pharmaceuticals. U.S. manufacturers use approximately one-third of the nation’s natural gas supplies. Because natural gas is a regional commodity, U.S. manufacturers need reliable and increased access to domestic supplies, especially to the large reserves contained in the nation’s natural gas shale formations.” (Letter, 5/25/10)

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