To say that Congressman Earl Pomeroy, a North Dakota Democrat, and Rick Perry, the Lone Star state’s conservative Republican governor, don’t see eye-to-eye on a host of issues would certainly be fair. But when it comes to creating jobs, delivering stable supplies of homegrown energy, the odd-couple, of sorts, couldn’t be more aligned.
You see, hydraulic fracturing – which has been used to stimulate energy production in America for more than six decades – has always been, and continues to be, effectively and tightly regulated by energy-producing states.
But some in Washington (and their allies “in the arts”) — who oppose the responsible development of domestic oil and natural gas — are working to erect unnecessary regulatory barriers. If the EPA were to be given outright authority to oversee this process, and given the directive to issue permits for fracturing, production of American oil and natural gas would be dramatically undercut in the best case scenario, and altogether halted in the worst.
Henry Waxman, the Beverly Hills congressman who chairs the powerful Energy & Commerce Committee, continues to kick around the idea of giving EPA authority to regulate fracturing. At the same time, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has made his intentions and beliefs clear that unelected Washington bureaucrats know better than folks in Pennsylvania when it comes to regulating fracturing, which is principally responsible for creating tens of thousands of jobs across the Commonwealth.
But when it comes to protecting their states from an onslaught off Washington attacks that threaten jobs and economic activity, Earl Pomeroy and Rick Perry are not standing by idly.
Pomeroy called it “irresponsible” for Congress to enact new [fracturing] regulations before the results of that study are known.
“Imposing new regulations now will do nothing to protect drinking water and will only serve to slow down development resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs and more imported oil. It is critical that any legislation related to the Gulf oil spill focus on responding to that tragedy and not include additional burdens on hydraulic fracturing,” he said.
Pomeroy pointed out that over the past two years, North Dakota has significantly increased its oil production, rising from the ninth largest oil producing state to the fourth. “This increase in production has resulted in a significant state budget surplus and the nation’s lowest unemployment rate,” he said.
Pomeroy said the regulation of hydraulic fracturing is best left to the states
. “Regulators in each individual state have a better idea of what steps are necessary to protect their residents and environment. Additionally, they are better equipped to implement commonsense regulations that fit their states unique needs than a catchall Environmental Protection Agency regulation,” he said.
And in a speech yesterday, Gov. Perry didn’t mince his words:
Perry dismissed questions about the safety of hydraulic fracturing. …”I am a very strong advocate of hydraulic fracking,” Perry said. “I’ve got great concerns that the federal government is trying to regulate that aspect of our drilling industry. It would basically shut down the oil and gas industry for hydraulic fracking to be outlawed or frankly, allow radical environmental interests to come in and have a say on how it … can be used by the federal government.”
Echoing Pomeroy’s comments, Perry adds this:
“I think the state of Texas is doing an appropriate job and I think we’re doing a pretty good job of making sure that companies that have misused the technique are being punished appropriately,” Perry said.
Energy in Depth, an industry-backed group fighting new regulation of fracking, had this to say about the new Waxman letters:
“The basic geological reality of shale gas exploration is the formations we fracture are separated from the formations carrying potable underground water by thousands and thousands of feet — and millions and millions of tons — of solid, impermeable rock. If the chairman is looking for some additional information on that scientific phenomenon, or on the steps that operators take at every wellsite in America to ensure what happens inside the wellbore has no way of communicating with what occurs outside it, that’s a conversation we look forward to being part of,” spokesman Chris Tucker said.