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Name That Congressman! (Who Supports a Commonsense Approach to Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing)

First elected to the U.S. House in 2008, this congressman’s district encompasses the Haynesville shale in northwest Louisiana. He served in the Navy as a medical doctor before starting a private practice. He currently serves on the House Natural Resources Committee, and is a member of the Energy and Mineral Resources panel.

Give up?

It’s Congressman John Fleming, of Louisiana’s fighting 4th district.

As we’ve blogged about here before, although Mr. Fleming is still relatively new to Congress, he understands the economic benefits, as well as anyone, that are associated with safe, responsible, well-regulated, 21st century shale gas production.

In a recent speech on the floor of the U.S. House, the congressman discussed hydraulic fracturing – the 60-year old technology that is used to stimulate energy production in 9 out of 10 wells produced in America. Most importantly, though, the Mr. Fleming weighed in on the potentially devastating consequences of a one-size-fits-all, top-down approach to regulating fracturing, especially as it relates job creation and economic activity.

This from the speech:

This action would have a far-reaching negative impact on energy producers and consumers alike, particularly in formations such as the Haynesville Shale in my district which depend on hydraulic fracturing to produce.

In 2008, production in the Haynesville Shale pumped $4.5 billion into Louisiana’s economy and created over 32,000 jobs.

Adding additional layers of regulations to hydraulic fracturing would not only result in a sharp increase in costs to small and independent producers, it would dramatically decrease output and job creation.

Production would essentially grind to a halt and billions of dollars in federal and state tax revenue would be at risk.

If Congress is serious about tackling this country’s energy crisis and ending our dependence on foreign oil then it is crucial they recognize what resources, such as the Haynesville Shale, will play in our long-term economic and national security.

Several local newspapers highlighted the congressman’s commitment to commonsense fracturing regulations. The Alexandria Town Talk reports this under the headline “Fleming: Hydraulic regulations could hurt Haynesville Shale”:

U.S. Rep. John Fleming is blasting Democrats on a House committee for launching an investigation into the safety of hydraulic fracturing. “The same team that brought America the job-killing, tax-hiking cap-and-trade legislation appear to be at it again,” Fleming, R-Minden, said in a speech last week on the House floor.

He said the extra federal regulation would increase costs, reduce production and eliminate jobs. “Production would essentially grind to a halt, and billions of dollars in federal and state tax revenue would be at risk,” he said. Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, called the investigation into fracturing a “witch hunt.”

And under the headline “Fleming to Congress: More regulation will hinder production,” the Bossier Press-Tribune reports this:

Representative John Fleming, M.D. addressed the House of Representatives Wednesday, expressing his disapproval of a recent Committee investigation by Reps. Henry Waxman (CA) and Ed Markey (MA) aimed towards giving the EPA unprecedented power to enact oppressive regulations on hydraulic fracturing, the technology that allows producers to reach natural gas.

Other legislators, especially those from energy-producing states that understand how effectively fracturing is currently regulated, are speaking out, too. In a recent column, Oklahoma state representative Mike Thompson – who chairs the Energy & Utility Regulation Committee – writes this in The Oklahoman:

Hydraulic fracturing is a safe and successful drilling method in which water, sand and chemicals are injected at high speeds into a well to fracture rock and free up natural gas.

Approximately 35,000 wells are hydraulically fractured annually in the United States and close to 1 million domestic wells have been hydraulically fractured since the inception of the technique, with no known harm to groundwater.

Regulation of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act would impose significant administrative costs on Oklahoma and substantially increase the cost of drilling oil and gas wells with no resulting environmental benefits. More importantly, the regulation of hydraulic fracturing would increase energy costs to the consumer.

Despite the recent growth seen in hydraulic fracturing, there have been no instances of drinking water contamination….

States have a long and clear record of safely and effectively regulating fracturing. If you agree that producing more homegrown energy must be a key element in addressing our long-term energy solutions, and that we must continue to foster job creation and economic activity through producing American energy reserves, then send Congress the message the hydraulic fracturing is effectively regulated by the states.

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