Wy. State Sen., Former House Speaker: State Regulators Best Equipped to Oversee Hydraulic Fracturing

As the groundswell of opposition to job-killing anti-hydraulic fracturing legislation in Congress builds both inside and outside Washington, state legislatures and county governments continue to speak out in a forceful, compelling way.

While a host of state governments have passed formal resolutions opposing the federal takeover of hydraulic fracturing regulation – a practice that has been applied for more than 60 years under stringent state regulation without a single incident of groundwater contamination – some individual legislators, who understand the catastrophic impact such legislation could have on jobs and energy production in their communities have been even more vocal.

State Senator Eli Bebout, a Wyoming Democrat-turned-Republican, former House speaker, and a man who knows a thing or two about producing energy, took to the pages of the Casper Star-Tribune this past week to make the case against a one-size-fits-all federal hydraulic fracturing regime.

Sen. Bebout’s column comes a few months after the Wyoming state legislature backed a joint-resolution requesting that Congress not pass legislation that would bring hydraulic fracturing under the federal government’s regulatory authority.

Key excerpts from Sen. Bebout’s column, entitled “Don’t federally regulate hydraulic fracturing“:

  • In nearly 60 years of commercial use, not a single documented case of drinking water contamination has been credibly tied to hydraulic fracturing — even though more than a million wells have been “fracked” in that time.


  • Aren’t our State Oil and Gas Conservation Commissions doing a good enough job of that already? Not according to lawmakers from Denver and New York, who haven’t been shy about questioning the commitment and even the competency of oil and gas regulators who happen to reside outside the D.C. offices of EPA.


  • Thankfully, here in Wyoming, support for the tools we need to deliver affordable energy and good-paying jobs to the state generally isn’t a partisan affair. That’s why the Legislature came together recently in Cheyenne to pass a straightforward joint resolution — one that reiterates our support for the technology, and lays out the history of how Congress came to reject the notion of federal regulation over fracturing in the first place.


  • The states are doing a good job and are willing to improve if necessary. Handing over this regulation to the EPA is unjustified and unnecessary and will cost America revenue, royalties, and jobs — to say nothing about exacerbating our dangerous and growing dependence on energy from unstable parts of the planet.

Sen. Bebout closes with this:


  • As the current administration in Washington takes a close look at how it can help create new revenues and put American workers back on the job, it’d do well to take a look at the important role that hydraulic fracturing plays in delivering America’s clean-energy future. It would do even better to make sure it remains intact.


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